Ordinance ‘factory’

Opposition up in arms

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Though it is a constitutional thing to do, issuing an ordinance, yet it is not something that you churn out in bulk and every other day. The government a little while ago promulgated some eight ordinances citing urgency as the reason behind the move. That was all very well and considering that the PTI government was not very keen on legislation from the beginning, the very attempt at thinking legislation was deemed to be a positive sign. But it looks as if the government has a long way to go before it learns the ropes.

An ordinance is only a short term measure and the constitution clearly enunciates the conditions under which president could go this route. The parliament is there and there was no obvious reason not to call a session to debate and get passed the legislation.

But there is a little background to it. Team Imran Khan has issues with the existing legislation that it wants amended, for that to happen it needs two-thirds majority which it does not have. It is in minority in the upper house until March 2021. Any legislation has to go through a rigorous process of drafting, vetting, inputting from various stakeholders and then voting in both the houses of the parliament and final approval from the president.

The government deems the whole of the opposition as a non entity and does not see any use for it at all. Any politician worth its name from the opposition ranks is either in jail or is facing a trail. There are dozens of spokespersons  who day in and day out lambast the opposition for their past corruption and misdeeds whereas they should rather be spending this time throwing light on the good work, if any, their government was doing.

On Tuesday the opposition parties in Senate asked for debating the ordinances that were signed by the president. Instead of giving a clear answer and a timeframe the government tried to sidestep the issue. This obviously did not go down well with opposition benches. They protested and staged a sit-in in front of the chair’s desk. The government must realize that this is no permanent way of going about the legislative business. A mere one resolution in the upper house can stall the ordinances in their tracks. A better course shall be to let the standing committees work like previously and let the parliament pass a bill if and when any comes up. For that to happen, the PTI firebrand ministers will also need to cultivate some relationships on the other side of the aisle.