ISLAMABAD – Chairman Senate Sayyed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari has said that a strong and effective parliament is one of the key elements to foster capable, accountable and responsive governance.

He was expressing these views as a chief guest at launching ceremony of `Improving parliamentary performance in Pakistan (IP3) Project funded by EU, to help optimize working of the parliament in Pakistan.

Nayyar Hussain Bokhari said that the central role of parliament in advancing democracy nationally as well as globally should not be underestimated.

He said that this project is being launched at a crucial time, when the parliament of Pakistan is in the process of redefining the roles and responsibilities of the democratic institutions and establishing its democratic values and parliamentary practices.

Bokhari said that centrality of the parliament can only be possible with inclusiveness and true representation of all segments of the society including women and men on equal footing.

The Chairman said that the processes have to be consultative, inclusive and participatory. This is the true spirit of democracy as well as the constitution of Pakistan, he added.

He said that in fact the special measures provided in the constitution give an extra hand in bringing the women and the minorities into the parliament through quota system.

He also deliberated upon gender equality and empowerment of women that stands recognized as central to democratic values as it impacts the development of any society globally as well as nationally.

He said, it is the great pride that our government has always believed in women empowerment to ensure equal rights through economic, social, legal and political measures.

The Chairman appreciated the outstanding role of women parliamentarians in Pakistan in recent years, particularly under the able support and guidance of Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Speaker of National Assembly.

Bokhari said that Pakistan is undergoing a phase of re-defining the role and responsibilities of its key state organs and sstandards for its democratic institutions.

The unanimous passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment has not only re-kindled the spirit of the Constitution, but will also go a long way in strengthening the federation by giving more autonomy to the provinces, he added.

The Chairman said that with emerging perspectives and entailing needs in democratic governance, it has become equally important to attune our democratic institutions and practices to international standards and tailor our work-culture accordingly both within the parliament and the respective secretariats.

This, however, does not mean that we only import the best practices, but it means that we also share our own parliamentary best practices at the international levels so as to establish a realistic approach in setting standards, Bokhari said.

He said that capacity building at all levels and orientation mechanisms have to be put in place and institutionalized appropriately.

The Chairman urged parliamentarians and the respective secretariats to extend their full cooperation in making themselves available for the project activities and to draw as much as they can in terms of learning modern techniques within the spectrum of democracy and parliamentary practices.

He emphasized the need to take it as window opportunity for learning and establishing best parliamentary practices in Pakistan as that is how we could actualize the democratic principles in our country.