If someone calls the present parliament a rubber stamp parliament, people will call such a person cynic. However, the successful attempt of the defence secretary to be present before the Senate Committee on Delegated Legislation to satisfy it on the operationalization of the National Command Authority (NCA Act), gives credence to such a somber view. The attitude of the defence secretary is beyond comprehension. Considering the importance of the matter, he could have sent some other senior official to remove the reservations of the Standing Committee. The refusal of the secretary is a reflection of the overall attitude of the establishment towards the supremacy of the parliament and the rule of law.

Moreover, the lack of trust between the institutions is so vast that no one from the ministry of defence bothered to brief the committee despite the fact that the arrangements were made on its demand. The refusal of the defence secretary to send someone else instead of himself can be seen as a delaying tactic at best. He was well aware of the fact that meeting he was refusing to attend was the last meeting of the committee. His refusal to delegate the responsibility of briefing to some other official ¬–as this was the final gathering of the Senate’s committee– as he sees it a matter of extreme importance suggest that in reality, he believes to the contrary.

The fact is that the rules of the act themselves are not important at all. Probability is that the legislators will not be able to make any meaningful contribution to the debate after framing the general rules. The refusal on the part of the Ministry of Defence –and the military– to comply with the orders as well as requests of the parliament on the law passed under public debate by them is problematic. The reluctance to open the rules of the Act to the parliament thus public refutes the idea of civilian supremacy and integrity of the parliament.