ISLAMABAD, March 25, 2017: The National Assembly approved the amendments in the Constitution as well as the Pakistan Army Act paving the way for revival of military courts during its 40th session that spanned over 13 sittings. The Assembly also legislated on registration of Hindu marriages, regulation and facilitation of public private partnership, setting up commissions of inquiry and amendments to the Post Office Act.
Besides military-courts related amendment in the Constitution, the government introduced two more Constitutional Amendment bills in the Lower House of the Parliament which along with 25 other bills were referred to the relevant standing committees. The Assembly also passed seven resolutions during the session making recommendations to the government on women education, infrastructure development, tackling unemployment and other issues of public importance.
Constitutional Amendments on Elections, Delegation of Power referred to Committees
Hindu Marriage and Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Bills passed
Prime Minister Attends NA Proceedings after Four Sessions
The Assembly took up lawmakers’ oversight agenda, including three Motions under Rule 259, 16 Calling Attention Notices and 519 Questions. However, the government did not respond to nearly 30% questions (153) during the session. Moreover, various standing committees presented their performance reports as well as reports on the matters referred to them by the House. The Assembly also adopted motions to set up two special purpose committees to look into the matters of blasphemous content on social media and implementation of National Action Plan (NAP).
The Prime Minister attended the Assembly proceedings during second last sitting of the session. It was his first visit to the Assembly after last four sessions. The Leader of the Opposition attended 10 out of 13 sittings. Among the parliamentary leaders, the smaller parties’ leaders were more regular than the others. The parliamentary leader of ANP was present in every sitting except one, while the leaders of QWP-S, APML, AJIP, JI and PML-Z attended 11 sittings each. As many as 15 lawmakers, including PTI leader and the Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development did not attend any sitting. On the other hand, 59 lawmakers attended all sittings during the session.
Like the previous session, the current sittings also witnessed a scuffle between a PML-N and a PTI lawmaker that prompted the opposition parties to boycott a sitting leaving the House without quorum. Eight other instances of walkouts were observed against the treasury benches. Moreover, the quorum issue surfaced seven times during the session.
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