ISLAMABAD, September 23, 2010: National Assembly met for two hours and 53 minutes during the 4th sitting of the 25th session. The sitting was marked by low attendance of the members with only 16% present at the beginning and 17% members present when the sitting was adjourned. However, the lack of quorum was not pointed out by any member throughout the sitting. The maximum number of members attending at one point of sitting was 127 (37%).
There were three bills on the Orders of the Day, out of which only one bill (The Competition Bill 2009) was taken up and subsequently passed by the National Assembly. The House did not take up two agenda items; proposed debate on ‘Human Rights violations in Kashmir’ and ‘Non-Release of Dr. Afia Siddique from prison in U.S’.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 43 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was absent. Only the Parliamentary Leader of MMAP was present whereas the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not turn up to sitting’s proceedings. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 2 hours and 53 minutes.
- The fourth sitting started at 1057 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 57 minutes.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the first 34 minutes of the sitting, while the remaining time was presided over by the Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 43 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- Only the Parliamentary Leader of MMAP was present, while the leaders of PPPS, ANP, MQM, PML, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN and PML were present, while the chief whips of ANP, MMAP, MQM, PMLF, PPPS, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 55 (16%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 57 (17%) members at the end of the sitting.
- Eight members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as five out of 10 minority members were present during the 4th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both the CANs.
- The Calling Attention Notices taken up by the House were directed to the Ministry of Industries and Production regarding ‘increase in the prices of essential commodities at Utility Stores,’ and the Ministry of Interior regarding ‘the kidnapping and thrashing of Mr. Umer Cheema, Reporter of Jang Group’. Both the CANs were moved by members of PMLN.
- A total of 28 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only eight were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- There were three Bills on the Orders of the Day. The House took up only one bill [The Competition Bill, 2009] during the sitting.
Order and institutionalization
- Five Points of Order were raised, consuming 15 minutes of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There was one Motion Under Rule 259 regarding the “Human Rights violations in Occupied Kashmir” on the Orders of the Day. However, the House did not debate on this issue.
- An adjournment motion was admitted on “non-release of Dr Afia Siddique from prison in United States of America”.
- There was no instance of protest, walkout or boycott during the fourth sitting.
- 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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