11% Legislators Take Part in Debate on Political Situation in Pakistan

The third Joint Session of the Parliament was called on September 2, 2014 to discuss the current political situation in wake of Islamabad dharnas by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the alleged rigging in General Elections 2013 and by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) against the killing of its workers in Model Town Lahore. Under pressure by protests and amid potential risks to the stability of the system, the session was convened at the joint request of treasury and opposition parties with the purpose of demonstrating of political unity for the continuity of the democratic system.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor: 12th (Budget) Session 14th National Assembly

The National Assembly’s twelfth (budget) session was marked by the approval of the federal budget for the fiscal year 2014-15. The House passed the Finance Bill after incorporating 43% of the recommendations proposed by the Senate. Other legislations, including the Anti-terrorism (Amendment) Bill 2014, were also passed amid protests and low attendance of members.

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14th National Assembly of Pakistan: Annual Report 2013 – 2014

Marked by national security challenges, post-election disputes and strained civil-military relations, the first parliamentary year of the 14th National Assembly, which ended on May 28, 2014, saw the passage of only 11 treasury-backed bills. Following the country’s first-ever democratic transition of power, the National Assembly had to respond to public concerns over prevailing multipronged issues of governance. Meeting for 99 sittings, the National Assembly’s focus remained on bills pertaining to judicial commissions, banking and amendments in the Anti-Terrorism Act 1997.

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Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Framework: Performance of the 13th National Assembly (2008-2013)

The 13th National Assembly brought yet another transition to democracy in Pakistan. Pakistan faced uncertainty and lingering political instability from 2008 to 2013. The defining feature of this period in Pakistan’s history was the executive-judiciary tussle. President Zardari, who took over as a civilian President from General Musharraf in 2008, did not initially restore the sacked higher judiciary. It was eventually done due to the intense mobilization of the lawyers and opposition political parties. However, seeds of the executive-judiciary tussle mushroomed into political instability. It forms the backdrop to the way the 13th National Assembly functioned and completed its tenure.

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FAFEN: Women MPs Performance in the National Assembly Report

As the first parliamentary year of the incumbent 14th National Assembly is nearing to an end, women legislators performed impressively, asserting themselves in their lawmaking role, according to a Free and Fair Election Network on the International Women’s Day. They played an active role in the lawmaking process by submitting 12 private member bills (six singly and six jointly with their colleagues). These bills mainly focused of issues pertaining to governance, human rights, democracy and political development. Similarly, women parliamentarians, singly, submitted 20 resolutions, 14 calling attention notices, 1,383 questions, 22 motions under rule 259 and raised 64 points of order during the reporting period.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor: National Assembly of Pakistan, 8th Session, January 27- February 7. 2014

The National Assembly’s eighth session was marked by the contentious passage of two government- backed anti-terrorism bills and the extension of terms of anti-terrorism ordinances amidst protests by the opposition benches. The long-awaited arrival of the Prime Minister and low interest of lawmakers in terms of attendance and participation was also witnessed, says Free and Fair Election Network in its report based on direct observation.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor: National Assembly of Pakistan 7th Session, December 05-20. 2013

Increasing direct representation of religious minorities was proposed in a bill seeking constitutional amendments in the seventh session of the National Assembly, otherwise marked by protests and boycotts against the Interior Minister’s ‘un-parliamentary’ remarks when the opposition aired reservations regarding voting procedures in the 2013 general elections as well as planned moves by the government to privatize institutions like the Pakistan International Airlines, NADRA etc., says Free and Fair Election Network in its session report based on the direct observation of the Lower House. The session saw the introduction of a private member bill which sought amendments in articles 51 and 106 of the constitution to increase the number of seats for religious minorities in the federal and provincial legislatures, and for direct elections to these seats. At present, members of religious minorities are elected to the House indirectly, through a party list system.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor: National Assembly of Pakistan 6th Session, November 04-12. 2013

Low interest of the members in participation and addressing agenda items was observed in the sixth session of the National Assembly, says Free and Fair Election Network in its session report based on the direct observation of the proceedings of the Lower House. The sixth session of the National Assembly continued the trend of fifth session of leaving more than half of the agenda unaddressed, low attendance of members, absence of Prime Minister and no passage of legislation.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor – 100 Days of 14th National Assembly of Pakistan

The 14th National Assembly took oath on June 1, 2013 after a landmark smooth and democratically managed transfer of power. Despite allegations of rigging and irregularities in the May 11 elections, the transition of power remained august as the newly-elected members took oath indicating at the increasing maturity that political organization had achieved, strengthening democracy. The oath-taking of members was followed by the election of the Speaker in a triangular contest that clearly established the majority of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) in the National Assembly.

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FAFEN Parliament Monitor – National Assembly of Pakistan, 5th Session, September 16-27. 2013

The National Assembly’s fifth session responded to the unfortunate and tragic incidents of terrorism, molestation of minors, and natural catastrophe in September 2013 by debating them and adopting resolutions. The House adopted supplementary resolutions jointly brought in by members of various parties to condemn the suicide attack on the church in Peshawar, incidents of rape of minor girls, killings of army men in Upper Dir, and expressed sympathies along with calls for rehabilitation of the earthquake survivors in Balochistan. Four government and five private members bills were introduced during the session as the House left more than 60% of the private members’ agenda unaddressed.

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