ISLAMABAD, March 18, 2015: The third sitting of the National Assembly’s 20th session was marked by low attendance of lawmakers – with 40 legislators (12%) present at the start and 36 (11%) at the time of adjournment, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) on Wednesday.
The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the members.
The House took up a calling attention notice (CAN) regarding shortage of water likely to cause drought in the country while another CAN about privatization of number of profit earning government entities was not taken up.
The House did not consider the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill, 2014 despite being on the agenda. Similarly, two motions under Rule 259 to debate the recent petrol crisis and problems being faced by the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were also not taken up.
The Leader of the House did not attend the sitting, while the Opposition Leader was present for 64 minutes. None of MQM members attended the sitting.
Following are some key observations of the House proceedings:
Members’ Participation in the House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and three minutes.
- The sitting started at 1117 hours against the scheduled time of 1100 hours.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for 39 minutes, Deputy Speaker for 34 minutes while the rest of the proceedings were presided over by a member of panel of chairpersons.
- The Prime Minister did not attend the sitting, while the Opposition Leader was present for 64 minutes.
- Forty members (12%) were present at the start and 36 (11%) at the end of the sitting. As many as 116 lawmakers (34%) were present at one point of the sitting.
- The parliamentary leaders of PkMAP, ANP, JI, BNP and PML-Z were present.
- Five out of 10 minority members attended the sitting.
- Six members applied for leave.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The House took up a calling attention notice (CAN) sponsored by a PML-N female lawmaker regarding shortage of water likely to cause drought in the country.
- Eleven out of 43 starred questions appearing on Orders of the Day were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministry. In addition, the legislators raised 11 supplementary questions during the sitting.
Order and Institutionalization
- Thirteen points of order consumed 50 minutes (41%) of the proceedings’ time.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was not available to the observers and the public.
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This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of FAFEN and in no way reflect the views of the European Union. This session report is based on direct observation of the National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) – a member organization of FAFEN. Errors and omissions are excepted.
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