According to 1973 Constitution, Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy, where elected government is answerable to representatives of the people sitting in parliament. What unfortunately we are witnessing is desire of our elected PM to act like a constitutional monarch, or head of government in presidential form of government, making occasional ritual presence in National Assembly, abstaining from it for extended periods of time, as if his stature would be lowered by regularly attending session. The PM derives his powers, through constitution, after being elected to parliament, and proving his majority as Leader of the House.

In UK, which is considered the mother of parliamentary democracy, the PM is always present every Wednesday during ‘PM Question Hour’, which is broadcasted live on all TV channels, when House of Commons is in session. It is the President, in parliamentary democracy, who is required to address joint session of parliament once every year, just like the Queen does in UK.

In America, where there is Presidential form of government, President is neither a member of legislature, nor is his tenure in office, dependent upon approval of majority of legislators. He is indirectly elected by citizens through electoral college and can be removed by impeachment only. Since 1913, he addresses joint session of House of Representatives and Senate to deliver his Annual Message. Why should PM Nawaz Sharif be hesitant to attend National Assembly regularly at least once a week, when the parliament is in session?. Other than reasons of health, democratic traditions require his frequent presence in NA and that was why he tried so hard to become the leader of Pakistan because he could steer the country out of the mess it is in.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, January 28.