ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency organized First Joint Workshop of Pakistani and Afghan parliamentarians and parliamentary staff on “Parliamentary Oversight” is scheduled to be held from April 22-23, 2008 in Islamabad. The Workshop has been planned with the objective to enhance mutual understanding on parliamentary oversight prevailing in the two neighbouring countries, to share lessons and learn from each other’s rules and practices.
The objective of the workshops is to enable the Pakistani and Afghan Parliamentarians to learn from each other’s rules and practices and make comparisons with other parliaments such as those of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The two day workshop to be inaugurated today is expected to have the presence of Mr. Faisal Karim Kundi, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan at the concluding ceremony. The workshop will be delivered by relevant experts in the field and veteran parliamentarians from Pakistan and the neighbouring countries including Sayed Hamed Gailani, First Deputy Chairman, Meshrano Jirga, Afghan Parliament; Senator Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali, Deputy Chairman Senate; Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs and Statistics, Pakistan; Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Ports and Shipping ad Privatization and Investment; Former Federal Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs.; Senator Farooq H. Naik, Federal Minister for Law, Justice, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights; Dr. Najma Heptulla, Member Rajya Sabha, India/ Former Deputy Chairperson, Rajya Sabah and President Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU); Senator Raza Rabbani, Leader of the House in the Senate; Senator S. M. Zafar, Chairman, Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights; Senator Mushahid Hussain, Chairman, Senate Foreign Affairs Committee; Secretary General, Pakistan Muslim League; Former Federal Minister of Information; Mr. Farhatullah Babar, Former Senator & Spokesman of the Chairman, Pakistan Peoples Party; Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Former Senator and Former Federal Minister; Mr. Riaz Fatyana, Member of National Assembly of Pakistan and Former Member of the Public Accounts Committee, National Assembly of Pakistan; Mir Ahmad Joyenda, Deputy Chairman of International Relations Commission, Wolesi Jirga, The Lower House of the Afghan Parliament;
A 20-member Afghan Parliamentary Delegation is also expected to participate at the workshop along with their Pakistani counterparts. As the 13th National Assembly kicked off its parliamentary session on March 17, 2008 by setting new traditions and committing to strengthening the institution of Parliament and upholding its Constitutional role, there has been a consistent expression of interest on part of the parliamentarians to learn from the experiences of other democracies especially those in the region. Similarly, Afghanistan elected its first parliament in 33 years in December 2005 under the new Constitution. In this context, the Workshop is expected to expose the Afghan parliamentarians to parliamentary practices of other countries especially those in the neighbouring countries like Pakistan.
The workshop will provide an effective means to build capacity and strengthen parliament, parliamentarians, parliamentary staff and parliamentary practices through exchange of best practices at an international level. The workshops are also expected to lead to the establishment of a relationship between the Afghani and Pakistani legislators at a non-government level that would facilitate greater interaction and discussion with each other on crucial issues of mutual interest as well as contribute to enhanced skills of Members of Parliament in the two countries to lobby for implementing best practices relating to parliamentary practices and rules of procedure of the other country in their country. A stronger role of legislators in supporting policies to build and strengthen peaceful relations between the two countries is also foreseen as a result of these workshops.
It is in this context that the Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency – PILDAT, an independent and non-partisan organization committed to legislative and democratic strengthening has organized the First Joint Workshop of Pakistani and Afghan Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff on parliamentary practices. PILDAT has, over the past 5 years, successfully delivered more than 60 workshops; planned and conducted six study tours of parliamentarians to countries such as, USA, UK, Germany, India and Bangladesh and prepared over 100 research publications including briefing papers, background papers case studies and other publications for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff.