Understanding Parliamentary Oversight: Concept & Tools October.

October 10, 2018 ,

Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) in collaboration with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) organized a two-day workshop on using parliamentary oversight tools at PIPS Islamabad campus from October 10th-11th, 2018. Honourable Members of the National Assembly of Pakistan and four Provincial Assemblies of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan participated in this interactive event which aimed at developing an understanding of the significance of the Parliamentary Oversight Tools as well as using them for effective oversight of the Executive as their core responsibility.

The event commenced with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran followed by a round of introductions of the participants attending the event. Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Zafarullah Khan formally welcomed the Honorable Members on behalf of the Institute and expressed gratitude for attending the two-day workshop. He hoped that it would help them make better use of the oversight tools in their respective Assemblies.

Day one of the event comprised presentations about the Oversight tools from Houses present. Mr. Qamar Sohail Lodhi (Special Secretary, National Assembly), Mr. Inayatullah Lak (DG Research & Parliamentary Affairs, the Provincial Assembly of Punjab), Mr. Shams-ud-din (Secretary, the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan), Mr. Sajid Ahmed (Administrator Automation, the Provincial Assembly of Sindh) and Mr. Inamullah Khan (Additional Secretary ,the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa)  presented an overview of the Parliamentary Oversight Tools and the procedure for using them in their respective Assemblies. The session concluded with discussion on the significance of Parliamentary Oversight and how Members could make them more powerful.

Speaker of the afternoon session was Honourable Member National Assembly of Pakistan, Syed Fakhar Imam, who shared his observations and insight into international Parliamentary practices of using Oversight Tools.  He shed light on the history of the evolution of Oversight tools and explained how Question Hour, Calling Attention Notice and Committees could be efficiently used by the Members to ensure that the policies of the government are in accordance with the laws passed by the Parliament.

Day two of the workshop was dedicated to a group-based activity, on the operationalization of Oversight Tools. “Water” was chosen as an issue and each group was provided with an information pack about it.  Honorable Members were required to apply Oversight tools, e.g., Calling Attention Notice, Question, Motion etc. to highlight the issue of quality and availability of water in their province.  Former Senator and Honourable Member ( Provincial Assembly of Balochistan), Mr. Sanaullah Blaoch and Director General PDP & IT PIPS, Ms. Samer Awais briefed the Honourable Members about the significance of water and the steps which could be taken on National, Provincial and local level by the Members to raise their voice using Oversight tools. Members prepared their group assignments by framing Questions, drafting Motions, Resolutions etc. Subsequently presentations were given by each group on the tools used by them. Honourable Mr. Sanaullah Baloch, who was assisted by officers from Legislative Wings of all the Houses, lauded the effort put in by new Members on acquiring this essential knowledge and provided them with feedback to polish their skills further.

The workshop concluded with vote of thanks by the Executive Director PIPS.

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