The endless debate over Panama leaks has had a disruptive affect on legislative activity in the National Assembly as well, costing millions in taxpayer’s money.
It is just a sign of lawmaker’s inefficiency and lack of focus that an issue that ultimately falls on the judiciary to decide and address, has been causing delays in places that can neither condemn nor decide the fate of those accused.
Almost 60 per cent of the legislative business remained unaddressed in the lower house of the parliament during the period of the last three months, according to figures made available to The Nation by the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen). Hours’ long discussions on various aspects of the controversy surrounding Panama leaks remained the main agenda in the NA from its 36th to 39th session.
Around 144 agenda items did not see the light of day in the National Assembly proceedings. Not only that, two joint session of parliament were also held and all agenda items were taken up to discuss this single issue. Some of the MNAs and federal ministers were also seen defending the government’s stance outside the Supreme Court (SC) after the hearing of the same case, while some of the ministers missed up to 19 days of proceedings due to the furore caused by Panamagate.
This confirms the fears of the people that MNAs are elected not to serve their constituent, but their own interests, which the party machine also ensures.
The National Assembly is not the place to defend the scandals of the government unless it can be taken up as a matter for legislation. The utter lack of quorum is additionally disappointing, and has been a constant feature since 2013, with not just PML-N representatives regularly missing, but many from PTI also either boycotting the assembly, or being generally missing.