ISLAMABAD, September 28, 2010: The National Assembly met for almost three hours in the seventh sitting of the ongoing session with very low attendance of members. There were only 13% members present at the outset of the sitting, while 22% were present when this Private Members’ Day sitting was adjourned. The maximum members’ attendance was recorded at 121 (36%), when the Prime Minister was present.
Almost half of the sitting time was consumed by Points of Order. Although the Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, the lack of it was not pointed out by any of the legislators.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 55 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for only 17 minutes. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hour and 50 minutes.
- The seventh sitting started at 1055 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 55 minutes.
- The Deputy Speaker presided over the initial 40 minutes of the sitting, while the Speaker chaired the remaining 130 minutes.
- The Prime Minister was present for 55 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition attended the sitting for 17 minutes.
- Only the Parliamentary Leaders of PPPS was present, while the leaders of MMAP, PML, ANP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of ANP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 43 (13%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 75 (22%) members at the end of the sitting.
- Eight members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as four out of 10 minority members were present during the 7thsitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took only one CAN, regarding “ban on mobile phone service in D.I. Khan and Tank Districts for the last 10 months”. The CAN was directed to the Cabinet Secretariat and was moved by three members of PML and an independent member.
- There was no Question Hour, as today was a Private Members’ Day
- There were two Private Members’ Bills on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one bill [The National Assembly Secretariat (Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Bill, 2010], which was sent to the concerned Standing Committee. The other bill [The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2010]. (Amendment of sections 2,9,10 and 14] was not taken up by the House.
- There were two Resolutions on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one Resolution that “the Government should take pragmatic steps to control the incidents of target killings in the country”.
Order and institutionalization
- 31 Points of Order were raised, consuming 85 minutes of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There were three Motions Under Rule 259 on the Orders of the Day. The motions regarding “performance of Pakistan Cricket Board with reference to match fixing scandal of Pakistan cricket team” and the “performance of Federal Flood Commission” were discussed in the House for 5 minutes each, while the Motion regarding “Human Rights violations in the Occupied Kashmir” was not taken up by the House.
- There was no instance of protest, walkout or boycott during the 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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