Islamabad, November 07, 2012 (PPI-OT): Acting president, Sayyed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari has said that a strong and effective parliament is one of the key elements to foster capable, accountable and responsive governance. The central role of parliament in advancing democracy nationally as well as globally should not be underestimated. He was expressing these views as a chief guest at launching ceremony of ‘Improving parliamentary performance in Pakistan (IP3) Project funded by EU to help optimize working of the parliament in Pakistan.
The acting president said that this project is being launched at a crucial time when the parliament of Pakistan is in the process of redefining the roles and responsibilities of the democratic institutions and establishing its democratic values and parliamentary practices. Talking about the central role of parliament in advancing democracy nationally as well as globally, he said that this role should not be underestimated. Bokhari said further that centrality of the parliament can only be possible with inclusiveness and true representation of all segments of the society including women and men on equal footing.
The acting president said that the processes have to be consultative, inclusive and participatory. This is the true spirit of democracy as well as the constitution of Pakistan. He said that in fact the special measures provided in the constitution give an extra hand in bringing the women and the minorities into the parliament through quota system.
He deliberated upon gender equality and empowerment of women that stands recognized as central to democratic values as it impacts the development of any society globally as well as nationally. He told the audience that its matter of great pride that our government has always believed in women empowerment to ensure equal rights through economic, social, legal and political measures.
The acting president appreciated the outstanding role of women parliamentarians in Pakistan recent years, particularly under the able support and guidance of Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Honorable Speaker of National Assembly. Bokhari said that Pakistan is undergoing a phase of re-defining the role and responsibilities of its key state organs and setting standards for its democratic institutions.
The unanimous passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment has not only re-kindled the spirit of the Constitution, but will also go a long way in strengthening the federation by giving more autonomy to the provinces.
The acting president said that with emerging perspectives and entailing needs in democratic governance, it has become equally important to attune our democratic institutions and practices to international standards and tailor our work-culture accordingly both within the parliament and the respective secretariats.
This however, does not mean that we only import the best practices, but it means that we also share our own parliamentary best practices at the international levels so as to establish a realistic approach in setting standards. Capacity building at all levels and orientation mechanisms have to be put in place and institutionalized appropriately.
It is with the same vision that the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services (PIPS) has been established under an Act of Parliament and mandated to help enhance professional skills of parliamentarians as well as support staff in their respective domains through orientation and training sessions. With gracious support of EU’s distinct IP3 Project and the PIPS, I am confident that the core parliamentary and legislative processes would be made more reflective of people’s aspirations because parliaments is supreme forum where will of the people resides.
The acting president urged parliamentarians and the respective secretariats to extend their full cooperation in making themselves available for the project activities and to draw as much as they can in terms of learning modern techniques within the spectrum of democracy and parliamentary practices. He emphasized the need to take it as window opportunity for learning and establishing best parliamentary practices in Pakistan as that is how we could actualize the democratic principles in our country.
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