ISLAMABAD: The Senate Special Committee on Monday decided to summon federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda to ask him the reason for not attending meetings of the Standing Committee on Water Resources.
The committee titled “Special Committee to provide mechanism for implementation of recommendations of the Committees adopted by the House” was considering the matter referred by the Senate chairman regarding continuous absence of Mr Vawda from meetings of the standing committee concerned.
Committee secretary Hafeezullah Sheikh informed the meeting that the chairperson of Standing Committee on Water Resources, Senator Shammim Afridi, had lodged a complaint that the minister was not attending its meetings.
PML-N member quotes rules to point out that it’s mandatory for ministers and secretaries to attend such proceedings
“The Senate chairman has referred the matter to us so that the committee could look into it and send a report to him,” he said.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Senator Javed Abbasi said that, according to rules, it was mandatory for ministers and secretaries to attend meetings.
“Mr Afridi should have moved a privilege motion against the minister. Had I been the chairman of the committee concerned, the minister would not have been able to skip its meetings,” he said.
“It shows weakness of the chairperson who has requested the Senate chairman to intervene rather than referring the matter to the privilege committee,” he added.
It is pertinent to mention that the ‘Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges’ considers matters regarding the procedure and conduct of business in the house and disposes of privilege motions moved by members of the house.
Committee chairman Dilawar Khan said that the minister should be called so that he could explain his position and reasons for not attending the meetings.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Senator Walid Iqbal said that, according to his information, Mr Vawda had attended the last meeting of the Standing Committee on Water Resources and suggested that the matter should be concluded.
However, the committee chairman said that it would be better to call the minister and even if he had participated the last meeting, a report would be sent to the Senate chairman with a recommendation to close the matter.
As it was the first meeting after election of the chairman, the committee directed its secretary to send terms of reference of the committee to the members so that they could come up with recommendations.
It is worth mentioning that the committee has been established to ensure implementation of recommendations and reports prepared by the standing committees.
In addition to this, the committee takes decisions on matter referred to it by the Council of Chairmen. It was decided that no more than one sub-committee would be constituted by a committee at the same time, the maximum time period for presentation of committees would be 60 days and the permission to hold meetings in the ministries would not be granted.
Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2019