The instances when the National Assembly (NA) turns into a fish market are a common sight in Pakistan. Members of the treasury, as well as opposition benches, mar the idea of democracy with their rowdy behaviour. Even when it is the fourth consecutive transition of democratic governments in Pakistan, the lawmakers are hard to inculcate the demands of democracy in their demeanour.

Nevertheless, the government wants to change this for good. It is appreciable that the opposition has also supported the government in introducing a code of conduct for members of the National Assembly. It is the need of the hour to come up with a code of conduct that can bar parliamentarians from using unparliamentary language during the sessions of NA.

The government’s decision to form a committee comprising members from treasury and opposition benches to ensure a smooth running of the lower house is much needed. It will help in guaranteeing that the debates on issues of national importance take place in a dignified manner and that everyone is taken on board.

The notion of democracy as the governance form becomes clouded with the behaviour that the lawmakers show in the provincial and national assemblies. One can cite countless examples to prove that the proceedings in these houses are anything but democracy. When the lawmakers themselves do not believe in the idea of democracy, how can they persuade the ones who think that the real power does not vest in people but lay with the men from the barracks and consider democracy ill-suited to govern a developing country like Pakistan?

It is encouraging that some sane voices in the lower house want to change the culture of the house. Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak’s request to the speaker to form an Ethics Committee will ensure that legislators abide by the rules of the house.