A state-of-the-art research and training facility for parliamentarians was inaugurated here on Wednesday.
The $11.5 million four-floor 55,000-square-foot Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Service (PIPS) will have modern computers, offices, seminar rooms, a library and an auditorium. The project was funded by the US government.
The institute will support professional development and orientation programmes for parliamentarians and staff and will provide data collection and research tools to help parliamentarians better serve the people.
“All developed parliaments around the world are backed by numerous think-tanks and allied research institutes. Such a facility, however, had remained missing from our struggling democracy,” said National Assembly Speaker Fehmida Mirza, who inaugurated the project along with US Ambassador Cameron Munter and US Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine. Mirza is also the founding president of the PIPS Board of Governors.
Dr Mirza said the institute, established under the PIPS Act 2008, was built on a piece of land purchased by the parliament for Rs34 million from its own budget.
“Parliament has also assumed responsibility for funding PIPS operations with one-third coming from the Senate and two-thirds from the National Assembly,” said the NA speaker. From the next financial year, she added, provincial legislatures will also start contributing towards PIPS’s annual budget.
She said the institute will serve as an independent research and training centre for all of Pakistan’s legislative bodies.
“This building is a gift from the American people,” said Ambassador Munter. “It is an expression of our deep partnership and commitment to democracy and the people of Pakistan.”
Dr Mirza said such a facility was particularly required post-18th Amendment, with its more critical and central role demanding vibrant performance.
For the Executive Director of PIPS Khan Ahmed Goraya and his team, the speaker gave five key values — integrity, professionalism, a non-partisan approach, anticipation and accessibility — to run the institute on.
Later, she attended a PIPS board of governors meeting in the new building.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2012.
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