ISLAMABAD, September 20, 2010: The Twenty-Fifth Session of the National Assembly began with low attendance of Members, with only 47 present at the outset of the sitting and 45 present at the end.
The long stretched first sitting left most of the agenda unaddressed and took up a resolution regarding “the support to the people of Kashmir”, which was not on the Orders of the Day. The resolution was unanimously passed by the House.
The low attendance sitting witnessed a walkout by the Members of PMLN against the comments made by the Chief Whip of ANP, while expressing his views on the resolution regarding Kashmir. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 4 hours and 52 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1725 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 25 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for 240 minutes, while the remaining 52 minutes were presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 47 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 35 minutes.
- Only the Parliamentary Leader of MMAP was present, while the leaders of ANP, MQM, PML, PMLF, NPP, PPPS and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM and ANP were present, while the chief whips of PMLF, NPP, BNPA, MMAP and PPPS were absent.
- The House took a 65-minute break for prayers.
- A total of 47 (14%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 45 (13%) members at the end of the sitting.
- As many as five out of 10 minority members were present during the 1st sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. They were not taken up by the House
- A total of 27 questions were listed on the agenda to be taken up during the Question Hour. However, only six questions were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- There were three Bills on the Orders of the Day. These legislations were not taken up by the National Assembly.
- The House took up the resolution regarding “the support to the people of Kashmir”. This resolution was not on the Orders of the Day. The resolution was moved by the Parliamentary Leader of MMAP.
Order and institutionalization
- 10 Points of Order was raised, taking up the 22 minutes of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- An adjournment motion was admitted on the issue of “Dr Afia Siddique case”.
- A total of seven Members spoke on the resolution regarding “the support to the people of Kashmir” for 69 minutes. These included five Members of PMLN and one Member each of ANP and PPPP.
- There was an instance of a walkout by Members of PMLN over the speech made by the chief whip of ANP. The walkout lasted three minutes.
- 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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