ISLAMABAD, August 9, 2011: The National Assembly continued debate on Motion Under Rule 259 moved by a PMLN legislator on “the law and order situation in the country, particularly in Karachi and Quetta”, during the 7th sitting of ongoing 33rd session. A total of eleven members spoke on the motion for 101 minutes.
Almost two-third of total sitting time (65%) was spent on the debate, which like previous sittings, was the only agenda item for 7th sitting. The sitting was marked by low attendance of the Members at the outsets and end of the sitting. A maximum of 151 members were present at one point of the sitting. Remaining one-third of the sitting time was consumed by 24 Points of Order, raised by the Members.
The Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition, and the Parliamentary Leaders of other parties, with the exception of MQM, PPPS and NPP, were not present during the course of the sitting.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 155 minutes.
- The seventh sitting started at 1340 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1300 hours. The House proceedings started late by 40 minutes.
- The first 45-minute part of the sitting was presided over by the Speaker, while the remaining proceedings were chaired by a Member of Panel of Chairpersons. The Deputy Speaker was not present.
- The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the proceedings of the seventh sitting.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM, PPPS and NPP were present during the sitting, while the parliamentary leaders of other parties remained absent.
- The Chief Whips of all parties, with the exception of the PML and BNPA were present.
- A total of 60 (18%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 64 (19%) Members at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 151 (44%) Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- Despite the absence of more than half of the Members, only six applied for leave to be absent from the sitting proceedings.
- The relevant minister was present during the 7th sitting.
- Eight out of 10 minority members were present during the 7thsitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were no Calling Attention Notices listed on the Orders of the Day as the Orders of the Day listed the debate on Motion Under Rule 259 as the single agenda item for the sitting.
- The House debated upon the listed Motion Under Rule 259 for 101 minutes (65% of total sitting time).
- A total of 11 Members spoke on the issue of the law and order prevailing in the country, especially in Karachi and Quetta. Five PPPP Members took 47 minutes to speak on the issue, while two PMLN Members expressed their opinion on the issue for 25 minutes. Two Members of ANP took 15 minutes, while one PML Member and an Independent Member took nine and five minutes, respectively, to deliberate upon the issue during the 7th sitting.
- There were no Bills on the Orders of the Day.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 24 Points of Order were raised, consuming 46 minutes (30% of total sitting time). However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There were three instances of token walkouts during the seventh sitting.
- In first instance, parliamentary party of the ANP staged a token walkout against the resumption of LG system in Sindh. In second instance a PPPP member from Sindh staged a token walkout on the same issue.
- In third instance, parliamentary parties of the MQM and PMLN staged a token walkout against recent price hike in POL products and persistent power cuts in the country.
- All the three token walkouts lasted 5 minutes each.
- 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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