The Senate, in collaboration with the four federating units, is going to celebrate “Constitution Day” on Monday (April 10).  This year’s theme of commemoration is “Enhancement of Role and Powers of Senate of Pakistan; to protect the rights of the Federating Units”.

The Constitution of Pakistan was passed by the National Assembly on 10thApril, 1973 and received the Presidential assent on 12th April, 1973. The Senate, under the leadership of its Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani initiated the commemoration of “Constitution Day” by highlighting the importance of land mark date of 10th April.  Since 2015, the Upper House of Parliament continues its practice of celebrating Constitution day with more vigor and zest every year.

The Senate of Pakistan came into existence as a House of Parliament, giving equal representation to the Federating Units.  A walk through the historical debates held in the Constitution making National Assembly explains that the legislators were aspiring for a coequal house for protection of rights and interests of the provinces and other Federating Units.

Over a period of time, the Senate emerged as a defender of the rights of the Federating Units and jealously guarded encroachments on the devolution of power to the Provinces. This continuous struggle triggered the evolution of Senate as a coequal House, wherein, after the Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment, the Senate has effective role and voice not only on the issues of provinces but also in the effective oversight of the executive.

Pursuant to the Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment and in the wake of the scheme of devolution, the provinces, members and other stakeholders had been demanding a review of the Constitutional scheme vis-à-vis the powers of the Upper House of Parliament. Bringing Senate at par with the National Assembly would give a sense of protection to the federating units especially the smaller ones. Enhancement of the constitutional role of Senate of Pakistan does not mean impinging upon the provincial autonomy nor it in intended to curtail the powers of National Assembly rather it is an attempt to give due representation to the federating units and the territories in the federal structure and safeguard their interests.

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