SJB MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar voiced his concern in parliament yesterday (03), alleging that both parliament and government officials have deliberately ignored a private member’s bill presented by him in 2021 regarding youth representation in parliament, provincial councils, and local government bodies.
The MP said he first presented three private member bills on the topic to the then secretary-general of parliament in January 2021. He pointed out that after facing significant delays, the bill was subsequently forwarded to the relevant ministry, accompanied by a request for a report on its contents. However, he expressed disappointment that the ministry had not provided the report, even by 2023.
Bakeer Markar highlighted that subsequently, the ministry submitted one report covering both his bill and the one presented by a government MP, albeit at a later date. “The Legislative Standing Committee then instructed the ministry to produce individual reports for each BILL. However, due to their non-compliance, the committee had to issue the same directive once more. Regrettably, the officials did not follow these orders, thereby violating parliamentary privileges,” he said.
Bakeer Markar mentioned that in June 2023, he had made a request to the secretary-general of parliament to include the bill in the parliament’s agenda. He said this request was in line with provisions that allow for a second reading after a waiting period of six months following the request for the ministry’s report. However, he said the request was ignored, forcing him to once again write to the speaker in September 2023 to request the same. Bakeer Markar said up to date, these requests have not been addressed.
He said that ignoring the authority of parliament and the shifting of unbiased behaviour required in parliament is becoming problematic and cannot be accepted. Bakeer Marker conveyed his disappointment regarding the obstruction he faced in fulfilling his responsibilities as an MP and the disrespectful treatment he received.
The SJB MP requested the Privileges Committee be convened and that this violation of his privileges be addressed immediately. He also requested the bill be entered into the parliament’s order of business to be taken up for a second reading.
Bakeer Marker expressed his regret at having to file a complaint with the speaker due to the deliberate hindrance, disrespect, and violation of his MP privileges by the way parliament has handled his private member’s bill.
“The issue goes beyond a simple violation and poses a challenge to parliamentary independence. The continuous disregard for the orders of the Legislative Standing Committee, intentionally challenging the powers of parliament, is unacceptable,”
“The unfair treatment I have faced is evident, and it is the speaker’s duty to facilitate an MP’s responsibilities, not allow them to be obstructed. Unfair objections to such actions should not be tolerated,” he noted.