WHILE everyone rages against military regimes and yearns for democratic rule to run the country - and very rightly so - it is really painful to see the nonchalant manner in which our elected representatives neglect the very basic norms of governance, once democracy has been put in place. Among other things, democratic governance stipulates keeping the public informed about the policies and actions of the government, requiring those holding ministerial portfolios to be present in Parliament to answer the members' queries and address their concerns about matters of public interest. But the picture that the Senate presented on Monday conveyed a distinctly different message. Both movers of resolutions and motions and Ministers concerned with the issues involved were absent, stopping the business of the Upper House fromm proceeding on a private members' day. That prompted a Senator to ask the presiding officer to "give ruling and issue notice against the concerned Ministers...they breached the dignity and honour of the Upper House." The Senate is supposed to consist of the maturer sections of society with deep insight into the affairs of the state, since most members have expertise in one field or the other and should, as a result, command greater respect. The debate there is, therefore, likely to bring out important points of common good, and should, under no circumstances, be treated casually. The observation of presiding officer Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi that he would bring the matter of Ministers' absence to the notice of the Prime Minister and assurance of Leader of the House Syed Nayyar Bokhari that he would ensure their presence in future, would hardly settle the matter. Such a situation, unfortunately, has not happened for the first time; not only in the Senate but also the National Assembly. There is need to take serious note of this lapse and set things right.