ISLAMABAD, March 4, 2011: The National Assembly met for four hours and 11 minutes for the last sitting of the 29th Session. The long stretched sitting suspended the regular agenda and debated upon the Motion regarding the assassination of the Federal Minister of Minorities.
As many as 31 Members spoke on the issue – nine of the PPPP, eight each of the PMLN and PML, two of the MQM, one MMAP and two Independents spoke on the issue. The Minister for Interior concluded the debate assuring the House of a transparent judicial inquiry into the killing of the Minister.
The question of low attendance of Members persisted during the tenth sitting, when only 44 (13%) Members were present at the onset of the sitting and 34 (10 %) present at the end. The maximum attendance of Members was recorded at 128 (38%), when the Prime Minister was present.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 11 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the PML, MMAP, PPPS and NPP were present, while other Parliamentary Leaders did not turn up.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for four hour and 11 minutes.
- The tenth sitting started at 1040 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 40 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for 30 minutes; the Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 25 minutes; while the remaining time was presided over by a Member of Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Prime Minister was present for 11 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- The Parliamentary Leader PML, MMAP, PPPS and NPP were present, while the leaders of MQM, ANP and PMLF were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, ANP, MMAP, PMLF and BNPA were present, while the chief whip of the MQM was absent.
- A total of 44 (13%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 34 (10%) Members at the end of the sitting.
- A total of 21 Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as eight out of ten Minority Members were present during the 10thsitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The House suspended the regular agenda to debate upon the Motion regarding the assassination of the Federal Minister for Minorities.
- There were no Bills on the Orders of the Day.
Order and institutionalization
- One Point of Order was raised by the Parliamentary Leader of the PML, consuming five minutes of the sitting. However, the Point of Order raised did not attract Speaker’s formal Ruling.
- The entire last sitting was dedicated to debate upon the Motion regarding the assassination of the Federal Minister. As many as 31 Members spoke on the issue – nine of the PPPP, eight each of the PMLN and PML, two of the MQM, one MMAP and two Independents spoke on the issue. The Minister for Interior concluded the debate assuring the House of a transparent judicial inquiry into the killing of the Minister.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the Members of the National Assembly.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a member organization of FAFEN
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