Contrary to normal parliamentary practices, the chairman Senate has slapped a ban on holding of committee meetings during the ongoing session of Upper House of parliament.

Senators belonging to different political parties have written a joint letter to the chairman Senate, terming it a surprising and strange move.One senator told The News Tuesday it was a move never done in the parliamentary history of our country. He said it seemed it was wished there should be very few meetings of the committee because it would become hard for senators to come to Islamabad to participate in the meetings without a Senate session.Now, the official letter written by senators, including Saleem Mandviwalla, Tahir Bizenjo, Rubina Khalid, Mian Raza Rabbani, Saadia Abbasi, Saifullah Abro, Taj Haider, Sardar Shafiq Tareen, Mushtaq Ahmed Khan and Hidayat Ullah Khan, to Chairman Senate Sadiq Sinjrani states with reference to Circular No F.1(3)/2021-24/C-II dated 3rd November, 2023, on the subject cited above, this Circular mentioned above places a ban on holding committee meetings during the ongoing session of the Senate.“This is a surprising and strange move which is not supported by the Senate Rules or the established practices. There is no bar in the Constitution or the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012 that committee meetings cannot be held during the Senate session,” it said.The Rule 814(1) provides, “A sitting of Committee shall be held at such day and time as the Chairman of the Committee may fix, but a Committee may not sit without the leave of the Chairman at a time when the Senate is sitting”.The Rule 184(3) provides, “If a Committee is sitting while the Senate is also sitting, the Chairman of the Committee shall if a division is being called in the Senate, suspend the proceedings of the Committee for such time as will, in his opinion, enable the members to vote in the division”.“As per the practice established under the Rules, meetings are held during the Senate session. However, a meeting is scheduled at a time when the Senate is not sitting (if the Senate session is held in the morning, the meeting is held in the afternoon and vice versa). More so, in terms of Rule 184(1), meetings are held even when the Senate is sitting.“In view of the legal and factual position, it is requested the decision circulated vide Circular, be reconsidered as the same is not supported by the rules and practices, and it undermines the rationale, mandate and usefulness of parliamentary committees,” the letter of senators concluded.

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