ISLAMABAD, March 19, 2013: The fifth parliamentary year of Balochistan Assembly, which was marked by political instability, constitutional crisis, and sectarian killings leading to imposition of the Governor’s Rule, witnessed the passage of nine bills with the house meeting only for 21 sittings throughout the year.
The provincial legislature adopted 11 resolutions and only one legislator asked 21 questions during the fifth year. Of the nine bills passed, six were new pieces of legislation and three amendments in existing laws.
In eight regular sessions, the Balochistan Assembly held only 21 sittings in the fifth parliamentary year. Overall, these sessions lasted 32 hours and 24 minutes with each sitting meeting for an average of an hour and 32 minutes. After the imposition of the Governor’s Rule, the Balochistan Assembly held two sessions which lasted for one and three sittings only.
An in-camera session in December 2012, which was to be briefed by the federal Minister for Interior on the security situation in the province, however, the first sitting was called off after three minutes as the federal minister could not make it to Quetta.
The members showed less interest in the assembly proceedings. On average only 12 members out of total membership – 65 – were observed present at the start while 13 there at the end of each sitting in the fifth year.
Moreover during the five years the provincial assembly functioned without any formal opposition, there was no oversight over the executive. The provincial assembly functioned without forming Standing Committees.
The province was thrown into constitutional crisis in October 2012 after the Supreme Court in the law and order case issued an interim order, saying the provincial government had lost its constitutional authority to govern the province as it failed to curb human rights violations, target killings and kidnapping for ransom cases. After the ruling, the Speaker questioning the status of the Balochistan government refused to chair a session requested by the Chief Minister on the Governor’s advice. In a no-trust vote on 26 December 2012, the Speaker was ousted. The house elected new Speaker and Deputy Speaker in December 2012.
The federal government imposed Governor’s Rule on 14 January 2013 in the province after the Hazara community refused to bury many of its members killed in the worst sectarian bombings when suicide attackers killed around 100 people at a crowded snooker hall in Quetta. Though by the end of the fifth parliamentary year the two-month Governor’s Rule expired as the parliament’s joint session was not called to approve the ouster of the provincial government, it was dissolved amid constitutional confusion.
The Balochistan Assembly also adopted 11 resolutions in the fifth parliamentary year, including the one which condemned the imposition of Governor’s Rule in the province.
Since the Balochistan Assembly Secretariat does not make public the attendance record of MPAs, FAFEN observers conduct a head count at the start and end of each sitting and documents the actual time spent by the Chief Minister, Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The Chief Minister attended 10 sittings. The two Speakers in the fifth parliamentary year chaired 11 sittings, while the remaining 10 were presided over by their deputies.
Overall, 53 out of 65 members participated during the assembly sittings. The following table shows the list of legislators who did not take part in any form of parliamentary intervention during the fifth parliamentary year.
|Name of Member||Party|
|Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani||PML|
|Mohammad Khan Toor||Like Minded Group|
|Tahir Mahmood Khan||PPPP|
|Mir Mohammad Bakhtiar Khan Domki||Ind (Opposition)|
|Mir Tariq Hussain Bugti||Like Minded Group|
|Mir Mohammad Amin Umrani||PPPP|
|Sardar Mohammad Aslam Bizenjo||Ind|
|Mir Amanullah Notezai||Like Minded Group|
|Mir Qamber Ali Ghicki||Ind|
|Al-Syed Abdul Qadir Algillani||Ind (Opposition)|
|Mir Shoaib Nosherwani||Like Minded Group|
Only one PML legislator asked questions from the executive during the fifth parliamentary year. He put forth 21 questions, of which 10 were directed to the ministry of Balochistan Development Authority, five to Planning and Development, and three each to Finance and Services and General Administration.
A total of 27 Members raised 95 Points of Order which consumed 375 minutes of the total time otherwise allocated to formal agenda. The Members generally raised more than one issue through a single Point of Order.
About FAFEN: FAFEN, a coalition of 42 civil society organizations, started the direct observation of the National Assembly proceedings in 2008, using a methodology based the rules of the parliamentary business. The direct observation was extended to the proceedings of Senate and the provincial assemblies in 2011.
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