On Tuesday, the government of Pakistan convened two sessions of the parliament to meet at a 24-hour notice, causing a lot of hue and cry amongst the parliamentarians. The opposition, for a long time, had been writing to the ministry of the parliamentary affairs to convene a session but there was none called for 120 days. The government is mostly trying to work out policies via ordinances, and it is a representation of the rift between both sides. However, there is a need to uphold the sovereignty of the parliament and engage both the government and the opposition in dialogue through it.

The biggest problem right now is the urgency with which sessions have been convened. With such tough weather conditions being experienced throughout the country, it is customary to offer at least 48-hours to those parliamentarians coming from far off places. However, with a notice of just 24-hours, many parliamentarians are complaining about the lack of time being offered and criticising the government for deliberately pushing them in such a situation where there is a great chance of some of them missing the sessions. With barely any knowledge of why the sessions have been convened, this situation gives the opposition another opportunity to blame the government of alienation in governance and policymaking.

To avoid giving rise to allegations of alienation, the government can certainly play its part in improving the current scenario. If there are matters that need to be discussed within the parliament, it is also necessary that the parliament then witnesses majority participation. If it is customary to offer a 48-hour period, the same should be offered to the parliamentarians due to the weather conditions in the country. If a meeting is being called urgently, parliamentarians should also be provided an agenda notice of what will be discussed so that they can provide input effectively for the agenda being discussed.

These protocols for the parliament are set in place in order to provide the government and the opposition the space to work on amicable terms. With a long road ahead, the government must bridge the gap between both sides because good democracies work with the efforts of both sides. Those that have been offered seats at the parliament have been democratically elected and must be included in the process of decisionmaking as the law demands.