ISLAMABAD: The Senate urged the government on Thursday to immediately do necessary legislation for increasing the age-limit of candidates appearing in the CSS examinations.
It also asked the government to take up with the provinces the issue of growing issuance of fake domiciles and submit a report to the house within two months.
The decisions were announced by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani through a ruling after a detailed discussion on the matter that had been raised through the recently-launched “public petition system” by the Senate.
Mr Rabbani issued the ruling after Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed declared that the government was ready to enhance the upper age limit for the Central Superior Services (CSS) candidates, particularly for those belonging to smaller provinces and less-developed areas of the country.
The Senate unanimously passed a resolution asking the government “to strictly comply with the constitutional provisions concerning holding of the meetings of the Council of Common Interests (CCI), constitution of its permanent secretariat and timely submission of its well-drafted and error-free reports covering all the constitutional requirements before the parliament”.
The resolution, read out by PPP’s Saeed Ghani, urged the government “to ensure strict implementation of the decisions taken by the CCI and facilitate the provinces to achieve their goals”.
This was for the first time in the country’s parliamentary history that the parliament discussed a matter that had been directly raised by common citizens by submitting petitions through mail and on the official website of the Senate.
Three matters raised through the public petitions had been included in the official agenda for the day’s proceedings. The other two issues discussed were the functioning of various policy and administrative boards and National Technology Council established by the Higher Education Commission.
Winding up the debate, the minister said there was no harm in enhancing the upper age limit of CSS candidates from the existing 28 years to 30 years. He assured the members that the government would take appropriate action on the recommendations of the house on the matter.
Earlier, taking part in the debate, the senators on both sides of the aisle called for relaxation in age limit of the CSS candidates up to 35 years to enable the candidates of backward areas to compete with those living in developed and urban areas of the country.
Independent Senator Mohsin Leghari was of the view that mere increasing the age limit would not make any difference. He pointed out that the quota system was being exploited by certain elements through fake domiciles of backward areas.
Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party called for verification of all domiciles through the National Database and Registration Authority.
During the Question Hour, the chairman took notice of the absence of Minister of State for Capital Administration Usman Ibrahim and asked the secretary of the division to appear before the house privilege committee for his alleged failure to inform the Senate Secretariat about the minister’s absence.
Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq said the minister was out of the country. However, he admitted that it would have been appropriate if some other minister would have been assigned to give reply on his behalf.
The chairman reserved his ruling on the issue of entitlement of medical facilities for dependent family members of sitting and former senators.
The ruling was reserved by Mr Rabbani after Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt informed the house that medical facilities were admissible to the family members and dependents of the sitting senators only.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2015