This background paper on Roles and Responsibilities of MNAs has been written to address some of these questions especially for the use of newly-elected MNAs. What role is an MNA supposed to play inside the National Assembly and vis-à-vis constituents? Is there a set of prescribed responsibilities to be fulfilled by each MNA? Do these responsibilities conflict with each other when it comes to the three-pronged role of Legislation, Representation and Oversight for each elected member? The nature of politics in a developing country like Pakistan is different to what people not in politics have come to expect from political parties, the elected representatives by watching UK House of Common debates or CSPAN in the US. The ‘intellectuals’ and ‘civil society’ members have come to expect that their elected representatives will deliver on the same level as their western counterparts. During the course of the election campaign, the candidates have to promise to provide all the demands put before them by the organizers of the meetings because it is then an implicit ‘contract’ that the organizer of the meeting will pursue the delivery of those demands once the candidate is elected. The Constitution is very clear about the role it has placed on the Members of the National Assembly. The MNAs are expected to be the ‘check’ on the Executive and through the power of the passage of the Money Bill granted to the National Assembly, the MNAs have a very powerful tool available to them to thoroughly scrutinize the performance of the Executive and allocate resources accordingly. Time spent on poring over budgetary estimates in Standing Committees means that this is time spent away from their constituencies -and for which they will not be rewarded by their constituents – who reward MNAs for being available to make transfer & postings. The role of the political parties’ manifestoes has taken a back seat in the nations’ political development.
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