NA hasn’t met since October, MNAs call for enhancing parliamentary oversight of govt’s Covid19 response

Nawaz Sharif

The Key members of the Parliamentary Task Force on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) called for enhancing parliamentary oversight of the government’s response to Covid19 in various sectors and asked the government to convene a session of the National Assembly (NA) which has not met during the last two months.

According to details, these views were expressed by Members of the Taskforce on SDGs at a consultative session on Improving Parliamentary Oversight of government’s Covid19 response with Riaz Fatyana, MNA and Convenor of the Taskforce on SDGs, organized by the SDGs Secretariat in collaboration with Democracy Reporting International (DRI) in Islamabad on Thursday. The session was attended by 12 MNAs and DRI’s policy experts.

Speaking on the occasion, Riaz Fatyana said that there is a strong link between economic growth, rule of law and democracy. He added that the second wave of the pandemic is more dangerous and has affected parliamentary business as the NA has not met since end of October while committees work also remained disrupted for a while due to the pandemic.

Riaz Fatyana underlined the need for using technical solutions to cope with the challenge including considering holding virtual sessions of the Assembly and its committees. He also highlighted the significance of financial and digital inclusion for rural populations and to develop a comprehensive strategy to sustain the industrial opportunities created by the pandemic.

The Chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians, MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan said that violence against women and children has increased during the pandemic but unfortunately no accurate data is available on this important subject.

Shandana Gulzar Khan demanded that a session of the NA should be convened to discuss these and other pertinent issues.

Mehnaz Akber Aziz expressed her concerned that the Covid19 related issues were not properly discussed in the Parliament. She said that the pandemic has affected education and learning and more so of the students from lower income groups. The government has not given any budget to schools for following SOPs such as buying hand sanitizers and soaps.

“Low-income private schools are badly affected by the pandemic as parents job losses resulted in students’ dropout. A stimulus package for such schools is needed to sustain the financial losses due to the pandemic,” she added.

Mehnaz Akber Aziz also called for a coordinated mechanism of Covid19 testing in school to timely and effectively contain spread of the coronavirus.