Editorial : Missing ministers - Sunday 10th April 2011

THE rule dividing the two items on Dawn` s page 5 on Saturday was not really required. The line is usually there to separate unconnected pieces of news. In this case, the distinction was difficult to make. The page had a five-column picture showing Chaman`s Bibi Tuhiba in her father`s arms along with two other children and a young man. Tuhiba`s claim to fame is that hers is one of the three new polio cases in the locality — this at a time when polio should have been eradicated from the country. And if this reminder of the inability of the government officials to do their duty by the people was not sad enough, to the left of the sombre picture, across the dividing line, was a news story about the truant ministers who find the climb up to the elected upper house in the country all too taxing an exercise to be done regularly. On Friday, as Chairman Farooq Naek called out for ministers, he was lucky to find a couple sitting somewhere in the house. While the chair managed to activate the two ministers at hand by asking them to move to their allotted seats, the duo deserved some credit at least for showing up in a place their cabinet colleagues have routinely found unworthy of their exalted presence.
If the honourable ministers are put off by the gravity of the business that awaits them in the upper house, they appear to have similar feelings for the more happening lower house of parliament. Concerned — or simply relevant — ministers are often missing from the National Assembly, too, and it is not odd for one cabinet minister to be fielding questions on behalf of another. This betrays a lack of enthusiasm on the part of public representatives to perform in a job that is otherwise so coveted, in which case the rule that divides Tuhiba and the Senate would be justified. Importantly, the cabinet members also stand apart from a prime minister who is much at home at his desk in the house and who swears by the supremacy of parliament.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/10/missing-ministers.html

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