Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhary has accused the Senate committee of interfering in administrative affairs of his ministry when, according to the Senate, the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology has been critical of the illegal activities and rampant corruption in his ministry, which, despite the repeated direction of the Senate committee remain unaddressed.
In a letter to the standing committee Chairman Senator Mushtaq Ahmed sent on August 19, the federal minister claims “the deliberations and concerns expressed in the meeting of the Standing Committee with respect to the administrative structure (appointment of heads of subordinate organizations) of the Ministry do not come within the ambit of the Senate Standing Committee, rather it is solely an internal administrative matter of the Ministry”.
“On the contrary, the Standing Committee must focus on offering guidelines and suggestions on policy-making, that it has been observed that the discussions and deliberations expressed in such meetings appear to be politically-motivated which is a glaring contravention of the Rules of Business and parliamentary norms,” Fawad said in the letter.
However, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, in an immediate reply, has reminded the minister about the mandate of the committee and rules misquoted by him in his letter.
Through a letter sent to the minister on Friday, Senator Mushtaq has reminded the minister about the responsibility of the Senate committee under rule 166 (4) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of business in the Senate 2012 “A committee may examine suo moto the ‘(budgetary allocation and its utilization) administration, delegated legislation, public petitions policies of the Ministry concerned and its attached corporations and public bodies and may call for views of the Ministry.
After examining the views of the Ministry, the Committee shall make a report to the Senate, which may make such recommendations thereon as it may deem fit: Moreover, under rule 165 (I) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012, the Minister or advisor of the concerned ministry is an ex-officio member of the committee.
The presence of the Minister or advisor in the committee meetings is necessary to explain the position of his/her Ministry on various issues and assist the committee in properly carrying out its functions.
The senator also informed Fawad that proceedings of the Standing Committee on Science and Technology are on record, and it is witnessed that the body has not discussed any political issue. He added that all political/parliamentary parties have representation in the standing committees including the Standing Committee on Science and Technology.
According to insiders, since the Senate Committee has raised questions about mismanagement, irregularities and corruption cases in the ministry and attached departments, the minister and officials at the ministry are unhappy over the proceedings of the committee.
As the standing committee has received a large number of complaints related to illegal activities at the ministry and its departments, the committee had tried to discuss them as the agenda of the meetings.
However, an official claimed, none of the directions of the committee regarding the corrupt officials enjoying key posts in the ministry were implemented by the ministry except repeating the exercise of presenting unsatisfactory compliance reports during the past year.
During a meeting of the committee on August 18, the committee, after observing delaying tactics of the ministry’s officials, had directed to suspend the officials facing various inquiries at NAB and FIA for years.
Originally published at Pakistan today