Bureaucrat can’t head parliamentary committee, says Rabbani

Updated April 08, 2020

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Balochistan has constituted a parliamentary committee on corona with the provincial secy as convener. — DawnNewsTV/File
Balochistan has constituted a parliamentary committee on corona with the provincial secy as convener. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Sena­tor and former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani has expressed his surprise over a notification issued by the Balochistan government regarding the constitution of a Parliamentary Committee on Covid-19 with provincial chief secretary as its convener.

In a statement issued here on Tuesday, Mr Rab­bani urged Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani to withdraw the notification dated April 6, stating that a parliamentary committee could not be headed by a person who was not a member of the House as per the rules and international parliamentary practices.

The committee, he said, consisted of six provincial ministers who in the Warrant of Precedent were placed above the chief secretary. He said the committee also comprised six members of the provincial assembly (MPAs) and it was not appropriate that the elected members should be made subservient to the civil bureaucracy.

“Such a parliamentary committee is unheard of in parliamentary practice and amounts to demeaning the democratic process,” dec­lared Mr Rabbani who is known as the main architect of the historic 18th Amend­ment to the Constitution which granted much-delayed and much-needed autonomy to the provinces.

The formation of such a committee, according to Mr Rabbani, is also a “slur” on the institutions created by the Constitution. He was of the view that the civil bureaucrats were there to assist the parliamentary committees.

The Balochistan government had on April 6 issued a notification (No.S-II-5(27)/ 2020-S&GAD) regarding the constitution of the 13-member Parliamentary Commit­tee on Covid-19.

According to the notification, Balochistan Chief Sec­retary retired Captain Fazeel Asghar is the convener of the committee. Members of the provincial cabinet who are members of the committee are Minister for Irri­ga­tion Nawabzada Tariq Magsi, Minster for Food and Popu­lation Wel­fare Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, Minister for Home and Tribal Affairs Depart­ment Mir Zia Lan­gove, Min­ister for Education Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind, Min­ister for Social Welfare Asadullah Baloch and Min­ister for Sports and Youth Affairs Abdul Khaliq Hazara.

The MPAs, who have been nominated as members of the committee, are Asghar Khan, Malik Sikan­dar Khan, Naseer Shah­wani, Nasrullah Zeeray, Mir Guram Bugti and Syed Ehsan Shah.

According to the terms of reference mentioned in the notification, the committee “shall give suggestions and provide consultation to the government in Covid-19 related matters” and “assist and coordinate with the government in combating the Covid-19 disease”.

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2020