There is an outcry against Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq chairing a meeting at the Cabinet Division in which some senior members of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet participated as members. The fact that a non-elected member of the party at the helm of affairs chaired a meeting of the Cabinet is what is alarming and highlights the neglect of the parliamentary procedures in place to ensure that no non-member is able to influence any decision making, and especially not preside over official meetings of the state, for which they were not elected.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) has been rightly censured by journalists, activists and civil society members alike to not let go of the protocols in place. The Constitution and its injunctions empower those we elect in our offices. It is their duty by default to not negate the clauses that entrust them with the highest authority in the country. Despite the position of the person in question, no non-elected member should be offered an entrance into Cabinet sessions because policymaking is a task of those elected by the nation. This is a gross mistake on part of the ruling party for which they should offer a sincere apology and a promise to stand by the laws of the country.

PTI should not forget its own opposition to such tactics when the party was not in government. PTI has also been the party to promise to strictly observe and adhere to the laws of the country. No exception should be made for party members or the expertise they have to offer. The expertise can be utilised beyond federal premises and in a manner that does not violate any law of the country. The sanctity of the Cabinet cannot be uprooted due to political affiliations or assumption of power by any party. They are ground rules that ensure smooth and effective workings of the Cabinet and hence, must be followed.

Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has to take a steady stance in this situation and make it very clear to the party members that no such violation of the rules will be accepted in the country. Every decision that is taken within the Cabinet will go through official procedural measures and it will only involve those who were elected for the position and no non-elected member will have the permission to sit through these sessions.