ISLAMABAD - The seriousness of parliamentarians on the ‘Kashmir issue’ could be gauged from the fact that the Special Committee of the National Assembly on Kashmir’ met once in last three months. The 14th National Assembly is going to complete its term in the next three or so months, the lawmakers deliberated upon the ‘Kashmir issue’ only five times, at least once in each year, in the last over four years.

Meetings of different parliamentary committees — which mull over important national level matters referred to by the National Assembly and the Senate — had been cancelled for 17 times in the second last quarters of the 5th parliamentary year.

According to figures available with The Nation, 165 notices for NA parliamentary committees were issued in the last three years. The legislators, in last three months, sat for one time to deliberate upon the Kashmir issue in an in-camera session. Other two standing committees on Foreign Affairs and PAC were also held in-camera. As many as 17-standing committee meetings were cancelled due to different reasons and 32-standing committee meetings were rescheduled.

The parliamentary committee meetings were revised for 32 times mainly due to the unavailability of chairmen of the respective committees. The Standing Committee on Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, the Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions, the Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges, the Standing Committee on Housing Affairs and others were revised in the last three months.

The PAC meetings were cancelled most of the time in last three months. The huddles of the PAC Sub-committee on Monitoring and Implementation, the Sub-Committee of Rules of Procedure and Privileges, the Sub-Committee of the Standing Committee on Human Rights, the fact-finding committee, the maritime affairs committee, the information and broadcasting committee and others were cancelled due to different reasons.

The figures (from June 2013 till date) show that over three dozens of parliamentary committees including the ‘Special Committee on Kashmir’, the ‘General Assembly of On women’s Parliamentary Caucus’, the ‘Special Committee on IDPs of FATA’, the ‘Parliamentary Committee on National Security’ met around a dozen time to discuss important matters.

Most of the standing committees on ministries including the law and justice, the finance and revenue, the rules and procedure and communications met over ten times, according to the breakup. A political analyst said that the disinterest of the lawmakers towards the standing committees badly affect the working of the parliament as main discussions are carried out by the standing committees. “The committee sessions, if held with regularity, would help empower the parliament and democracy,” he said mentioning that the parliamentary committees should a play a key role in discussing issues of public interest.

The disinterest of parliamentarian could also be gauged from the fact that the proceedings of the National Assembly were suspended due to insufficient quorum.