ISLAMABAD: The upper house of parliament has approved a motion to constitute an ethics’ committee, comprising parliamentary heads of political parties to develop a code of conduct for parliamentarians.
The initial draft of the committee, notified in the last session of the Senate, was prepared by the Senate Standing Committee on Rules and Privileges, headed by Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M).
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Jamaldini said the new ethics committee was a major breakthrough in the history of the Senate. “This is the first time that the Senate has formulated an ethics committee for itself to ensure an ethical environment in the upper house,” he said. The committee, according to him, will help to gradually weed out mismanagement, nepotism and corruption.
Earlier, a meeting of the standing committee discussed the issues of both ethics and privileges. It also prepared a parliamentary report that was mainly aimed at determining as to what the ethics committee should do. It was decided that the ethics committee should first prepare a code of conduct for parliamentarians.
The standing committee decided to hand over the task to the House Business Advisory (HBA) committee that comprises heads of all political parties. The HBA is presided over by the Senate chairman and at the beginning of each Senate session, it meets and discusses issues to be taken up during the session.
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Prepared by the standing committee, the initial draft of the ethics committee was handed over to the Senate chairman, who brought it before the HBA, which endorsed certain points as it decided that the ethics committee will formulate the code of conduct.
Reliable sources within the Senate said the HBA committee is most likely also to serve now as the ethics committee as it comprises all parliamentary heads and their decision about the code of conduct will be binding on all parties.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2015.