Public Policy and Parliament of Pakistan

Public policy is what public officials within the government and elected representatives choose to do or not to do about public problems. Public policy is significant subject for country’s development. In spite of the fact that Parliament is key factor it remained only concern for executive branch. According to the definition the role of elected officials is necessary. But unfortunately neither our Parliament played active role nor parliamentarian showed any interest in it. Treasury benches comprised of elected officials in which they focused just on their concerns related to government business. Parliamentarians can provide their inputs in policy formulation, implementation and evaluation via standing committees. Every ministry has a correspondent standing committee which includes both opposition and treasury members. Dilemma is that government formulates policies but neither fully implementation nor evaluation being done.

Policy implementation and evaluation should be done through standing committees. Each policy has various goals and targets but after implementation how can we assess its achievements and failures without policy evaluation. Consensus on policy is another issue for example after seventy years previous year government legitimize water policy. As a consequence of huge delay Pakistan fell into water scarce country. This issue could be resolved through parliament floor.

Similarly parliament can scrutinize all stages of policies through standing committees like the working of Public Account Committee. After the 18th Amendment various subjects devolved to the provinces like climate change. Whole country is facing severe climate change impacts but Balochistan government has failed even to formulate a climate change policy till now.

Balochistan is most vulnerable as it constitutes forty five percent of total area of country. To raise consensus among provinces regarding various issues Council of Common Interest was established but it failed to resolve various conflicts such as implementation of water share accord. To avoid such conflicts parliament could be involved. Policy legitimization along with cabinet approval should be approved from parliament. Improvement of inter parliamentary affairs with respect to provincial assemblies is desperate. Whenever government decides to alter a policy it should measure parliament confidence first. Eligibility of parliamentarians is another issue because they are not able to give their input in public policy process. There should be a training program for them so that they can aware how they can get involved in policy process.

The main reason behind each policy failure is lack of consensus at federal and provincial level. Our politicians support specific policies for their own interest. Federal policies always prevail but it could not achieve its goals without provincial policies. Distinct and controversial policies can be avoided through parliament floor. Public support is desperate for policy success but it can be attained if parliamentarians agree on certain policy because they are public representatives. If parliament plays its role in public policy process it will be durable for our
country.

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