LAHORE - Speaker National Assembly Dr Fahmida Mirza has urged speakers of the provincial assemblies to work for strengthening democracy and its continuity besides maintaining impartiality in the House. Addressing the 16th speakers and presiding officers conference at the Punjab Assembly here on Tuesday, she said only true and potent democracy enabled a nation to face challenges of the time. We owe great responsibility to the nation of impartiality in business of the House and our impartiality should reflect through our deeds, she told the speakers of the provincial assemblies. Fehmida also quoted eminent former British speaker of the House of Commons, Clifton Brown, for the maintenance of impartial and unbiased conduct in business of the House. She said a speaker speaks the least during proceedings of the assembly but their ruling is regarded as the unanimous voice of the House, adding unlike rest of the members a speaker does not represent his constituency but a symbol of confidence of the elected members as well as the supremacy of parliament. That is why legal and constitutional experts deem a speakers verdict voice of the nation, she added. She said the institution of speaker is held in high esteem as a protector of parliamentary democracy all over the world. The Speakers Chair is a symbol of esteem and strength of parliament, she added. She called upon the provincial speakers to ensure that the minority voice in the House had the maximum opportunity to express itself when they were in the chair. About responsibilities of a speaker, she said it should be ensured that the rules and regulations were observed in the House, the constitution was held supreme and established democratic norms were respected by all. We should not overlook the fact that time is fast changing. If we fail to keep pace with global changes around us, we will lag behind the comity of nations and lose the initiative, she observed. Fahmida Mirza said the February 18 elections had provided representation to women directly and indirectly from national and provincial constituencies. She said it was the need of the hour that women parliamentarians should be encouraged, guided and supported in all respects to help them play their due role. Lauding the role of women parliamentarians, she said 60 per cent questions, call attention notices and legislation had been brought by women parliamentarians during the past two years. Fahmida Mirza also stressed the importance of strong and effective standing and other committees in the House. She said the committees could be called ears and eyes of the House since their effective performance ensured the true supremacy of parliament. She said control of the legislature over government institutions was enforced through the committees. Earlier, in his welcome address, Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan welcomed the speakers and the presiding officers to the 16th Speakers Conference. He said the conference would be helpful in promoting contact and cooperation among the provincial assemblies in the country. He said the Punjab Assembly had been linked with the internet and its sessions could be watched live. The PA Speaker said the basic aim of the conference was to ensure that the parliamentary system flourished and the concept of the government being answerable was pursued in letter and spirit. Later, the delegates discussed the agenda of the conference, details of which were not provided to the media. The 16th Speakers Conference was attended by Deputy Chairman, Senate, Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali, Speaker Sindh Assembly, Nisar Ahmed Khoro, Speaker NWFP Assembly, Karamatullah Khan, Speaker Balochistan Assembly, Muhammad Aslam Bhutani, Speaker Azad Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, Shah Ghulam Qadir, Speaker Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly, Wazir Baig, and Deputy Speakers from the provincial assemblies.