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 – 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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FAFEN Parliament Monitor: National Assembly of Pakistan, 4th Session, August 13-30. 2013

The National Assembly’s fourth session was marked by the introduction of two treasury-backed bills and the formation of 34 Standing Committees while the House left 79% of the agenda on the orders of the day unaddressed. Low attendance and participation of lawmakers was observed during the session. The government introduced the Constitution (23rd Amendment) Bill seeking 20-year extension for provincial quota in the federal government services. This is the third extension by amending the article 27 of the constitution to provide “safeguards against discrimination in services”. Additionally, apart from the Service Tribunals (Amendment) Bill 2013, the Civil Servants (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 and the Electoral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 were introduced during the session.

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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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