Islamabad : Former Senator Afrasiab Khattak from Awami National Party (ANP) has said that today’s Parliament is much weaker than ever before mainly because of growing disconnect between legislature and civil society.
Mr Khattak was speaking at a seminar on ‘Parliament-society nexus’ organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
Mr Khattak said that Pakistan’s Parliament is the case of retarded development, as there was continuous disruption of democracy in the past. He said that there is a need to develop a democratic culture of tolerance where everyone can openly debate on issues of public concerns. He urged the public to study the Constitution to bridge the gap between state and society. He said that we should all strive for rule of law and supremacy of the Constitution.
PML-N MNA Romina Khurshid Alam said that there is big communication gap between society and Parliament and our youth in particular is not very well connected and are not aware of the significance of the elected houses. She said there is a need to strengthen the relationship between civil society and Parliament as civil society can be instrumental for pro-people legislations. She said that Parliament is the only supreme institution which could resolve our all societal issues.
Renowned poet and civil society leader, Harris Khalique, said that currently Parliament is very weak and it is very challenging for it to meet the expectations of the society. He said that it is unfortunate that the perception of civil society is generally confined to few non-governmental organisations at national and international levels, which is not true. Civil society includes people from all walks of life. He said that the Parliament and society cannot be separated. He stressed that Parliament needs to strengthen itself through legislations and functioning of parliamentary committees which will help restore confidence among the general public. Then strive collectively to end differences in our society, he added.
Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI, said that there is rise in polarisation in our society and building consensus among all segments of society has become a major challenge. He said that the Parliament should uphold human values and build consensus on issues of societal conflicts. He said that there are renewed expectations in general public and the incumbent government led by PTI must engage with all stakeholders. He asked the government to revive student unions, which would help further strengthen the Parliament-society relationship.