Senate Adopts Pro-Democracy Resolution
The Senate of Pakistan has adopted a pro-democracy resolution, calling for the establishment of a national democracy commission as envisaged in the charter of democracy in order to promote and develop the democratic culture in Pakistan. However, it voted out a motion for leave to introduce a Bill seeking powers for Parliament to ratify all foreign agreements.
The pro-democracy resolution called upon the government to make democratic civic education a part of the curriculum as well as educational activities. It stressed that the extra-curricular and co-curricular activities at the national campuses should include themes related to parliamentary democracy, fundamental rights and constitutionalism in Pakistan.
The resolution has emphasised that the future of Pakistan and its people depends on the continuity of democratic governance embedded in the supremacy of the Constitution. It also points out that half of the country’s population is under twenty-five (25), with not all young people being able to obtain formal school, college and university education and the core concepts of constitutionalism, federalism and representative parliamentary institutions are missing from the textbooks.
The leave to introduce the Bill seeking ratification of all foreign agreements by parliament had been opposed on the ground that a similar Bill was pending before the National Assembly.
The House did not allow leave to introduce a bill that suggested amendment in Article 91 of the Constitution, providing for the speaker of the National Assembly to perform functions of the Prime Minister in case of death or dismissal of the country’s Chief Executive.
Under the proposed bill, a session of the National Assembly would be convened within seven (7) days to elect a new leader of the house and the cabinet would perform under the speaker’s leadership during the time.
The chair of the relevant standing committee of the House referred a bill seeking the addition of a new section to address a lacuna in the Constitution, which provides no mechanism for an immediate substitute of the Prime Minister in case of death, disqualification or inability to perform functions.