When elected through democratic processes, parliaments represent an expression of citizens’ human rights. This spirit is captured in article 25 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which states that “Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity […] to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives”. A State party of the ICCPR since 2010, Pakistan is obliged to fulfil the requirements of the convention.
Through elections, citizens mandate their elected representatives to govern the state and translate the aspirations of the people into legislative and policy actions; however, the role of citizens in governance should not end with the casting of a ballot. Parliamentarians and citizens should continue to work together throughout the parliamentary term.
This guide is designed to provide an overview of the various techniques parliamentarians can use to en¬gage with citizens as well as channels through which citizens can communicate with their elected rep¬resentatives and thereby influence policymaking. The guide is meant to offer parliamentarians, citizens and NGOs with practical approaches and concepts for organising and conducting their work, particularly in relation to outreach techniques. The approaches and strategies described are likely to be relevant for national as well as provincial parliamentarians, political parties, civil society organisations, the media and citizens. Members of the newly elected local governments can adopt these strategies to increase their outreach to citizens.