Does Parliament care about fake degrees more than us?

For a week or two different clusters in the parliament have been criticising the media for revealing the issue of fake degrees and the incompetence of parliamentarians. But unfortunately it is also the media that has been debating problems and solutions of national economy more than our honored parliamentarians.

Saqib Omer Saeed July 16, 2010
June and July have been critical months in the national parliamentary schedule because of the federal budget presentation in parliament and then the discussion for its approval. Generally nations anticipate their parliaments to discuss national budgets and come up with ideas and proposals for their well being.

I come across the findings of the report of Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) entitled FAFEN Parliament Monitor. The report reveals just how much our parliament took  discussed the federal Budget 2010-11 in the National Asembly in its 2pml-3rd budget session.

According to the report:

  • Only 114 out of 340 members took part in budgetary discussion i.e. 33% (June 3rd to June 30th 2010).

  • A majority of the parliamentarians commented generally about terrorism and power shortage.

  • Out of the 660 cut motions introduced, aiming to decrease 41 government and 183 proposed budgetary allocations or demand grants - not a single cut motion was successful.

  • 44% female and 30.6% male parliamentarians took part in general debate on budget.

  • A majority of parliamentary leaders were absent in the process. The leader of the opposition was present in 14 sittings out of 21 [66.6%]. (The leader of PML attended 9 sessions [42.8%]. The leader of MQM attended 6 sittings [28.5]. The ANP leader attended 3 sittings [14.25%].)

Before saying anything further - let me say it: What a dilemma? A country that is rich in resources and only needs leadership to mobilise is witnessing behavior of a parliament free of seriousness. Can we derive by their fake degrees and general incompetence that parliamentarians are not capable to discuss core of budgetary dynamics.

For a week or two different clusters in the parliament have been criticising the media for revealing the issue of fake degrees and the incompetence of parliamentarians. But unfortunately it is also the media that has been debating problems and solutions of national economy more than our honored parliamentarians.

It was from May 2010 that the media of Pakistan started discussing national economic and budgetary preferences. They have been organizing seminars, conferences and television programs on the  issue and there is no doubt that what media has highlighted has to be remitted in the parliament by members for brain storming and decision making. But perhaps parliamentarians only view programs on fake degree and political point scoring programs on television.

It is really unfortunate that the interest of 180 million people of Pakistan is not supreme in the parliament of Pakistan but the honor of 340 people has to be protected by ignoring and not revealing their corruption myths. What sort of hypocrisy is this? I can agree by seeing parliamentary democracy’s history that the graduation clause was unfair as it was imposed by a dictator but who will ensure the capability of parliamentarians in solving national issues. Even to the extent of their interest in affairs of the nation.

After seeing the level of interest of our parliamentarians I think we need to propose a new amendment in constitution that allows showing TV programs in parliament on national issues. I hope this can add to their intellect on national issues. I have no issue whether they write judiciary, journalists and jenerals [General] to make it “Triple J” but being a citizen of Pakistan I am interested in my parliamentarians to being skilled and interested in the management of our national priorities. Economy and budget top the list.

In today's age, parliament is worthless if they have no capability of solving public interest issues.  The media in nothing but the voice of a nation. If democracy means supremacy of public interest then the voice of the nation is always supreme. If we see that the media is promoting national interest whereby they discuss the national budget more than our worthy parliamentarians, we can then tolerate some faults within the media. However, if our own elected parliamentarians are not interested in discussing the national budget and economy then our interests will sink from their presence in our parliament.
Saqib Omer Saeed A financial researcher, analyst and adjunct faculty in CBM, SZABIST, BIZTEK & University of Karachi and blogs at
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