Unless you are glued to the TV all the time, it’s hard to keep track of what goes on in the Pakistani parliament. Often, the only times we hear from our representatives is when they need to get elected. Once that happens, they become as unreachable as ever. In a democracy, however, there needs to be more transparency and more accountability. That is exactly what OpenParliament aims to to bring to Pakistan.
A comprehensive portal dedicated to parliamentary proceedings, OpenParliament.pk gives details of all the interventions carried out on the floors of the legislative houses in the country. It’s constantly updated with the parliamentary data of each member of the legislative houses against their respective interventions.
The initiative has been launched by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), which is a coalition of 42 national civil society organizations working together to promote fair elections, open parliament and good governance in Pakistan.
OpenParliament is unique in the sense that there is no such centralized information repository present in the country right now. What it will do is make the democratic process more palatable to the general public. The common man will be able to provide feedback on different bills moved the parliamentarians and they’ll also be able to raise issues directly. Last but certainly not least, it will increase public awareness about parliamentary interventions.
If you want to contact your representative but do not have the means or their contact information, you can just fill out a form and FAFEN will do it for you
On the site, each province gets its dedicated section with Daily Factsheets, Session Reports, Thematic reports and Annual Reports. In addition to the provincial Assemblies, reports for the National Assembly and Senate are also available. You can find out more about how the information is collected through the Parliamentroscopy section on the site.
If you want to contact your representative but do not have the means or their contact information, you can just fill out a form and FAFEN will do it for you. Aside from that, there are also sections to find the performance of representatives in legislative houses as well as constituencies. A section to find out their net worth is also available.
All in all, the OpenParliament.pk portal is an excellent initiative that can go a long way to help bridge the gap between people and their representatives. Democracy doesn’t mean we get to vote and just sit back every few years. It means being involved at every step of the way and the first step along that is awareness, which the portal aims to bring.