What’s in a question? Apparently question-answer sessions are so important towards communication and accountability that we might soon see the Prime Minister (PM) having to take the hot seat in the parliament and answer the members’ questions.

According to an 11-point agenda issued by the National Assembly’s Secretariat for Monday’s sitting, the government is hoping to make it mandatory for the PM to respond to questions of members about government affairs on the floor of the parliament. It will do so through an amendment to Rule 69, in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business 2007 by enacting a sub-rule “Prime Minister’s Question Hour” which is to be introduced by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan.

This new amendment is not a revolutionary idea and seems to be inspired by a constitutional convention in the British parliament called the “Prime Minister’s Questions”, during which the Prime Minister spends around half an hour answering questions from Members of Parliament (MPs). This is not the first such venture by our parliament either- In 2012, the rules of the Senate were amended under which one hour was allocated for the prime minister to give reply to questions. However, after Yusaf Reza Gillani’s premier-ship, no PM has taken the initiative to dedicate time to answering members’ questions, and this rule was akin to non-existent during Nawaz Sharif’s government, who only attended the Senate three to four times during his four year stint as PM.

Perhaps the best consequence these rules could ensure, if they are actually followed, is that they will ensure the PM’s attendance in the parliament- which could be an achievement considering attendance of past PMs and leaders of political parties has been extraordinarily low. At its best, these rules will enable our parliament to become a more cohesive one, and will facilitate unity among different political parties by allowing more transparency and accountability of the PM. This will happen only if this PM hour is a civil one which does not result in heated exchange of insults- the British PM Questions often ends up being a shouting match.

Hopefully, this PM hour will serve as a route to soften the harsh pluralities that exist now in our parliament which is paralleled by the division in our society. These elections have left Pakistani politics at its most divisive and the only way to counter these divisions is through open dialogue and communication.