Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) in partnership with Mustekham Parlimaan (an EU Funded project) organized a National Workshop on Legislative Drafting Practices from Oct 4 -5 at its campus in Islamabad. The workshop was attended by twenty five officers from the National Assembly, Senate and the Provincial Assembly Secretariats as well as officers from the Legislation Wing of PIPS. The objective of the workshop was to enable a thorough understanding and hone the existing drafting skills of the officers in line with the best international practices on legislative drafting.
The programme commenced with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Mr. Shahab Khan Khattak, Assistant Director PDP, moderated the event. He invited Ms. Samer Awais, Director-General PDP, to give programme overview of the two-day workshop. She welcomed the participants to the workshop and elaborated on the significance of legislative drafting skills for a Parliamentary officer as well as the legislative process. She discussed that Pakistan was following the Westminster model of democracy and briefly highlighted the types of bills enacted in the Parliament of Pakistan. Explaining the nature of private member bill, she identified a need for an increased facilitation in the process of private member bill drafting by Parliamentary officers. Ms. Awais thanked MuP for co-hosting the event and hoped that the workshop will stimulate a productive discourse on the current trends of legislative drafting practices in Pakistan in accordance with the latest global trends.
Mr. Shahab then invited Ms. Margie Cook, Team Lead, MuP, for her opening remarks. Ms. Margie extended her welcome to the participants. She hoped that this workshop will prove beneficial for the participants in updating their knowledge and understanding of legislative drafting. She proceeded towards explaining the drafting process being followed in the Australian Parliamentary system, shedding light on how a bill drafted by the member of the Parliament keeps into account relevant party manifesto, which is later if passed by their Parliament becomes an Act. Ms. Cook also reflected on the nuanced legislation in place for the indigenous people of Australia. Expressing optimism, she stated that this workshop will provide the right platform for learning drafting techniques more effectively.
To express welcome remarks of the workshop, Mr. Shahab Khattak, proceeded to invite Worthy Executive Director, Mr. Muhammad Anwar. He greeted the participants of the workshop and hoped that they avail this distinct opportunity in maximsing their learning on drafting good legislation. Reflecting on the history of legislative drafting in Pakistan, he opined that drafting legislation is a relatively newer trend as thirty- fourty years ago this practice was not prevalent in the National and Provincial Assembly Secretariats of Pakistan. The Legislative Drafting Units were constituted a few years ago in the National Assembly and Senate Secretariats of Pakistan. He apprised the audience on the functions of the Legislative Drafting Units, including assisting Honourable Members of the Parliament in drafting of bills as well as scrutiny of bills in Standing Committees of the Parliament.
The workshop was facilitated by Senior Legislative Experts, Mr. Sheikh Sarfaraz Ahmed and Mr. Mohsin Abbas Syed. Key topics discussed by subject experts included drafting instructions, structure and outline of a bill, general provisions of a Bill, the definition clause of a bill and writing effective legislation with use of correct legislative sentences. Participants were assigned group work by the Facilitator in order to better understand the drafting techniques of a Bill.
The event concluded with a certificate distribution ceremony amongst the participants of the workshop by Worthy Executive Director, Mr. Muhammad Anwar.