FAFEN Parliament Monitor: National Assembly of Pakistan, Second (Budget) Session June 12-28, 2013

Only 41% of legislators took part in the first budget session of the 14th National Assembly as the government’s decision to implement the increase in the General Sales Tax (GST) before the passage of the budget was criticized by the opposition. On the other hand the Supreme Court also ruled the government had no legal authority to levy and charge 17 per cent GST without the parliamentary approval. The session, that spread over 13 sittings from June 12 to June 28, 2013, lasted 85 hours. On average, each sitting started 20 minutes late and met for six hours and 32 minutes.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor Senate of Pakistan 95th (Budget) Session Report 2013

During the Senate’s 95th session 46 senators took part in the debate on the federal budget for the financial year 2013-14. The Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics, Planning and Development submitted 113 recommendations on the Finance Bill. The National Assembly incorporated 21 recommendations of the upper house in the federal budget. The…

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor – Senate of Pakistan 95th Session

ISLAMABAD, June 22, 2013: Forty-six Senators took part in the debate on the federal budget during the 95th session of the Upper House, says the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its report released on Saturday. Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics, Planning and Development presented before the House 113 recommendations, which were unanimously adopted in the last sitting of the session.

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Provincial Assembly of the Sindh: Annual Report 2012 – 2013

The fifth parliamentary year in the Sindh Assembly was marked by the passage of 47 bills – 43 government and four private member bills. Most of the bills (40) were passed in the last session of the fifth parliamentary year. These included five government and two private member bills to increase salaries, allowances, and other…

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General Election 2013: FAFEN Observation – Key Findings and Recommendations

Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) issued three short statements on Election Day, May 11, 2013, and a preliminary statement and report the day after the elections. The following report includes additional analysis of summary data received from more than 40,000 observers across the country. The ten themes in this report include voter turnout, barriers to women’s voting, irregularities in polling stations during voting and counting procedures, and weak election results management. The report also includes sections on last-minute changes in polling schemes; pre-election violence, government interference and Code of Conduct violations; and constituency delimitations.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor- Senate of Pakistan 91st Session

The session from 18 February to 14 March 2013 lasted 36 hours and 14 minutes. On average, each of the 17 sittings lasted two hours and seven minutes, starting 49 minutes late. Overall the upper house passed 15 bills including four private members’ bills. A private member’s bill introduced by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate “to consolidate the law to regulate the acceptance and utilization of foreign contribution” by NGOs “for any activities detrimental to the national interest” was referred to the Standing Committee on Finance.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor: National Assembly of Pakistan 50th Session (February 17 — March 14, 2013)

The 13th National Assembly, completing its historic five years tenure, achieved a legislative agenda which altered the country’s governance structure by ensuring provincial autonomy and restoring the 1973 constitution, and promoted women’s empowerment. However, the last session of the assembly was marked by low interest of members as low attendance persisted throughout the session, and the lower house left 70% of the agenda appearing on the Orders of the Day unaddressed. The 50th session witnessed the passage of bills on counter-terrorism, general elections, education and health. Maintaining the tradition of political consensus over legislation and other national interest issues, the house unanimously passed 15 bills, including two amendments to the Anti-terrorism Act to expand the powers of law enforcement agencies to tackle financing for acts of terrorism and empowering them to detain suspects for a period of thirty days. In addition, a bill was passed to set up the National Counter Terrorism Authority.

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Provincial Assembly of the Punjab: Annual Report 2012 – 2013

As the Punjab Assembly grappled with the question of creating new provinces in the fifth parliamentary year, it passed bills to set up universities and curtail the trend of protracted litigation in disposing of land cases as part of the reforms package the provincial government announced for women, besides adopting the federal laws on the subjects devolved to the provinces under the 18th constitutional amendment. Overall the focus of legislation was education, women empowerment and the matters related to land and property.

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FAFEN’s Pre-Election Update: Only 11 percent of Election Officials’ Meetings held with Security Officials

Pre-U41/09-May-2013: This update is based on interviews with Returning Officers (ROs), District Returning Officers (DROs) and District Election Commissioners (DECs) between April 23 and 30, 2013, regarding their meetings with election stakeholders at district and constituency levels. These meetings are essential for security and logistical planning and to ensure transparency, efficiency and accountability in administration of the elections. The election officials who were interviewed reportedly held a total of 72 meetings with election stakeholders.

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