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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government completed its first year in power with a unique distinction – it did not enact a single law.

Although 11 bills were passed by the National Assembly in this period, apart from the finance bill for 2013-2014 (which does not require approval of the upper house), the current government could not get a single bill passed through the Senate and signed by the president. However, 12 ordinances were tabled in the first parliamentary year ending on May 31.

The PML-N enjoys a near-absolute majority in the National Assembly but cannot even claim a simple majority in the Senate, where the main opposition PPP holds a majority. The second parliamentary year is set to begin on June 2 and a joint sitting of both houses has already been convened.

According to data obtained from the National Assembly Secretariat, the lower house passed the finance bill in June last year, five bills in February this year, followed by three in March and two in April. These are currently awaiting debate in the Senate.

As many as 43 private members’ bills and 13 government bills were introduced in the National Assembly during the first parliamentary year. However, all 56 are pending discussion in standing committees. 

On the other hand, the government tabled 12 ordinances, including four controversial anti-terror laws, before the parliament amid protests by opposition members.

A comparative analysis of this data reveals that the current parliament’s legislative performance in its first year has been quite poor as compared to the first year performance of parliaments elected since 1985.

In its first year of the government of Mohammad Khan Junejo, parliament approved 23 laws from March 20, 1985 to March 20, 1986. Benazir Bhutto’s first government approved 13 laws in its first year.

The first Nawaz Sharif government got 24 laws approved from parliament in its first year. During Ms Bhutto’s second tenure, parliament passed 33 laws in its first year in office.

Mr Sharif’s second government set a record when parliament approved 47 laws during its first year and a total of 74 bills were passed into law until Oct 12, 1999.

The previous PPP government managed to pass only four bills in its first parliamentary year.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2014

Comments (22) Closed

Saiyed zaidi May 29, 2014 08:14am

A very testing time for the general population,nothing has improved only a lot of uncertainty,goverment not transparent on what they hope to accomplish besides make the rich richer and poor poorer,who ever elected these jokers for a one big dinner think again your future generations are going to suffer. Make a change now before it's too late.....

Danish Haider May 29, 2014 08:18am

What a great achievement by PML-N which elected with heavy mandate.

Democratic Republic of Pakistan May 29, 2014 08:20am

A dismal state of affairs led by a corrupt and incompetent assembly of stooges. When even the educational qualifications of our rulers are suspect, their performances can only be a reflection of their cognitive abilities. Adding zeros together, only results in a total equal to the sum of its parts. Revolution is the only solution. May Allah bless the poor people of our country and give us the wisdom to understand and the courage to follow our dreams.

Moby May 29, 2014 08:48am

The Amir-Ul-Momineen does not need to pass any laws, he serves his subjects by passing gas.

Malik May 29, 2014 09:36am

To be fair to PMLN, the reporter is unnecessarily harsh, given the fact that composition of the two houses (National Assembly and Senate) is diametrically opposed. Moreover the practice of seeing the performance of a legislature in numbers is often misleading. The story should have looked at the 'content' of the legislature's work and see why they have not been passed by PPP-dominated Senate. A very obvious example is the PPO bill.

Sardar Tayyab Haider May 29, 2014 09:43am

How 35 Puncture will bring change...

Bilal May 29, 2014 09:48am

Do we really need anymore laws? - I tend to disagree. Deliberation is a good sign that at least parliamentarians are using their brains rather than aggressively enacting rubbish laws. Gauging performance through quantitative terms, such as the number of laws enacted, is not always a good choice. It is like assessing police performance through number of criminals caught - if order can be restored without the need of extensive arrests -why not? Similarly, if governance can be improved via implementation of prior laws- who needs new laws?

Danial May 29, 2014 10:02am

Mashallah. Why does anyone need to enact or pass laws?

Current Pakistani Government: Use force whenever someone tries to resist and call it an 'operation', rig the election, have secret deals with terrorists, make sure you keep people uneducated so you can win the next election and use them, keep looting and crying in front of other world leaders so you can continue to ensure personal gain in the form of business.

I was wrong... Past and Current Pakistani Governments. Probably future ones too. Jeay Pakistan. We only use law when our 'unbiased judiciary' can be used for personal vendetta.

Judiciary: Pitbulls of Pakistani Governments.

Khuram Nisar May 29, 2014 10:03am

The problem is just the EGO of sharifs who don't want to sit with someone to be agreed. They pass the legislation in lower house without even consulting their fellows unlike they make an agreement with opposition on common ground and pass the law. Now, they are clearly waiting for next senate elections.

mubashir May 29, 2014 10:15am

they don't have time from useless foreign visits. ,Nor they have caliber to make public oriented policy. they are only interest to double their bank balance and start such projects in which their factories input will be used

Paki May 29, 2014 11:03am

In times where terrorism is so ubiquitous, electricity is non existent, then the problems on the west front, joblessness, law and order, Karachi situation, Baluchistan, and non serious, selfish and power hungry opposition (PTI) i believe the performance is still under control. Infact this law enacting responsibility is equally goes to Opposition as well.

M. shafiq janjua May 29, 2014 11:07am

@Bilal agreed, saw your message just now, almost a similar message sent for posting.

AdHawk May 29, 2014 11:39am

Instead of making new laws, maybe they can work on repealing the insane laws already on the books. A few ideas: the Hudood, Blasphemy, anti-Ahmedi, Prohibition laws etc.

Frankenstine May 29, 2014 12:09pm

and then they say why Pakistani blames only Political Parties.This is how they open the gate for Martial Law. I wish our pols know anything about Democracy except the word "democracy".

Kabeer May 29, 2014 05:29pm

Kings need no Law !

MSAlvi May 29, 2014 07:38pm

In my view, it makes no difference. If the assemblies pass laws and are put on books, no body is going to enforce them. Just let these stooges go home, and don't pay them.

Their election is a license to do corruption and influence the system to their own advantage, and to the advantage of those who support them. Some of these elected representatives do that for money.

Ayesha May 29, 2014 11:20pm

Forget about new laws, the question is the laws, which were passed previously are only on papers, but they have been never implemented, so don't try to fool the public by giving the figures of those laws in the last government of Nawaz Sharif, Benizir Bhutto, and top criminal Zardari.

Malik May 30, 2014 12:09am

this due to upper house wait for the new senate then all of u will look the nawaz sharif of 90's

Ali Hasan May 30, 2014 12:37am

I don't get this.

Pakistan needs enforcement of existing laws. Not a plethora of additional laws that will stay on the books for years before another government comes and claims to repeal it to show 'look we did something'.

How about measurable and quantifiable indices on enforcement of laws as a means to measure success as opposed to number of laws passed?

ma May 30, 2014 12:37am

@AdHawk Repealing law is also kind of law making business

rashad May 30, 2014 01:37am

@Malik My dear this is the beautiful democracy that you always wanted and were literally willing to kill for. please enjoy it to your fullest for the next five years because after this it will never comeback.

Just Someone May 30, 2014 06:48pm

How many laws do you want to pass? Does simply passing a law do good to the common man?