House of federation: What does the Senate do?

Upper house provides equal representation to federating units


Our Correspondent March 02, 2018
PHOTO: FILE

The upper house provides equal representation to federating units in keeping with its constitutional role: facilitating national integration. The Senate functions autonomously and complements the work of the National Assembly.

Areas of activity

The work of the upper house encompasses three chief areas of activity. These include legislation, oversight and representing federating units.

Legislation

No bill can become law until it has been passed by both houses and received presidential assent. Money Bills constitute the sole exception on this account. However, the Senate can present suggestions on it.
A bill can be passed at a joint session of parliament with simple majority if legislation transmitted to another house is not cleared in 90 days, or if amended legislation sent to another house is not passed with the changes.

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Securing presidential assent carries a 10-day limit. If a bill is referred back to parliament it is considered in a joint session. Upon securing a plurality of votes, a bill is deemed to have been passed by both houses. The bill is then forwarded again to the president for assent. The bill is deemed to have secured presidential assent if this does not happen before the 10-day limit expires.

Oversight and accountability

Senators can employ myriad of mediums to hold the government accountable. These include question hour, adjournment motions, call attention notices, zero hour and committee debates.

Representing federating units

The Senate is tasked with securing the interests of federating units, according to the Constitution. Every province is afforded equal representation to ensure parity. The use of proportional voting in Senate elections also ensures minority representation.

Source of information: Senate of Pakistan

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