ISLAMABAD, March 16, 2010: The low attendance fourth sitting of the 20th session met for three hours and seven minutes, leaving most of the agenda on the Orders of the Day unaddressed, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on Fourth Sitting of 20th Session of the National Assembly Proceedings.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 03 hours and 07 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1038 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 38 minutes.
- The Speaker of the House and the Deputy Speaker were not present during the sitting. The sitting was chaired by Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada (Panel of Chairperson).
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 49 minutes. However, the Leader of Opposition was absent.
- Parliamentary leaders of PMLF and PPPS were present, while the leaders of PML, NPP, MMAP, MQM, ANP and BNPA remained absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP, PPPS, MQM, PMLF, and MMAP were present, while chief whips of NPP and BNPA were absent.
- Three members appealed for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of 46 members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 95 members at the end of the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. The House took one CAN.
- The Calling Attention Notices taken up by the House were directed to the Ministry of Health and Ministries of Finance and Revenue and Planning and Development.
- The Notice directed to the Ministry of Health was tabled by 5 members of PMLN, while the other CAN directed to Finance and Revenue and Planning and Development was also raised by 5 members of PMLN.
- The issues raised were regarding the “spread of Pollen and other allergic diseases” and “Clearance of Lacs of Cells Phones from Quetta Airport without paying customs/duties resulting in loss of Rs 470 million to the national exchequer”.
- There was no Question and Answer session as Tuesday’s session was a Private Members Day.
- There were five Private Member Bills on the Orders of the Day to be taken up by the Lower Chamber. All five were taken up by the Lower House
- The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2010 co-sponsored by one representative of PPPP and one member belonging to PML. The Compulsory Blood Test of the Relatives of Thalassaemia Patients Bill, 2010 was tabled by 2 members of PPPP. The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was coined by 5 members of PMLN ad one belonging to PPPP. The General Clauses (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was put forth by a member of PPPP. The Prison (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was tabled by one member of PPPP.
- There were five resolution on the Orders of the Day, none were taken up for discussions
- There were five Motions under Rule 259 which were on the agenda, which were not taken up by the National Assembly
Order and institutionalization
- 29 Points of Order were raised, taking up 92 minutes of the House proceedings. However, none of them required Speaker’s ruling.
- There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day
- There was one instance of a token walkout on the issue of “comments made by Punjab Chief Justice on Local Hindus as being the prime source of funding for terrorists activities” by members of ANP and PPPP, which lasted for 2 minutes.
- Orders of the Day was 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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