The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT), has recently compiled its ‘MNAs Scorecard’ on the performance of National Assembly (NA) members during the third parliamentary year from June 2015 to May 2016. The report is held back by a lack of official information on parliamentary bodies, lacks ratings on ministers and other members of the executive, and relies on public sources, such as newspapers, a little too often, but the underlying rating method is scientific and sound; providing valuable insight into the track record of our honourable representatives.

As expected the picture isn’t great. The National Assembly overall attendance rate is 61% and the performance grade is at 41% - both behind the Senate’s rankings. The fact that the Senate gets more done than the directly elected NA was an open secret in government circles; now it is quantified in hard numbers too.

More illuminating – and disappointing – is the performance of several high-profile leaders of major political parties, who, if parliamentary convention and good practice is to be followed, should be leading the line in oversight and lawmaking. Yet, our representatives seem more concerned with playing politics outside the NA rather than do their jobs inside it.

To name a few, Pakistan Tehrek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Women’s Wing head Faryal Talpur and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Hamza Shahbaz have been found to be the worst-performing lawmakers in the third parliamentary year of the current NA – with a 20% performance rating (a fail grade in all educational disciplines). By contrast the JUI-F MNA Naeema Kishwer Khan– elected on a reserved seat – has been declared ‘MNA of the year’ with the highest score of 70%.

In fact, this trend runs through the report; directly elected members or senior party leaders were mostly absent and non-participatory, while fringe members and MMA’s elected on reserved seats did most of the work. Out of the above 14 MNAs occupying the top 10 Ranks, 9 or 64% are women parliamentarians, while the percentage of women in the NA is just 20.5%.

While this report will be, and should be, used to berate non-performing members, its function should extend far beyond this. Our MNAs and MPA should be held accountable for their actions inside the parliament, and their performance should inform the choice of the voters in future election. Furthermore, information for this goal should be easily available for public viewing, not jealously guarded by the government.