ISLAMABAD, June 21, 2012: Starting two hours behind schedule, the 13th sitting of 38th session of the Punjab Assembly witnessed low attendance as the House passed eight Bills, including the Punjab Finance Bill 2012.
Only 34 Members (9% of the total membership of 369) were present at the start of the sitting and 58 were there when it was adjourned.
When the House passed the Punjab Finance Bill 2012, it had 123 Members, but the rest of the seven Bills were passed amid lack of Quorum. The Chief Minister did not attend the sitting while the Leader of the Opposition remained present in the House for an hour and 22 minutes.
The legislators from the opposition benches walked out of the House over the use of indecent language against women MPAs and the Speaker’s ruling on it. The walkout lasted 14 minutes.
Twelve Points of Order consumed 13 minutes of the sitting time.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for two hours and 20 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1200 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The proceedings started two hours late.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for an hour and 30 minutes while the remaining time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Chief Minister did not attend the sitting while the Leader of the Opposition was present for an hour and 22 minutes.
- Only the parliamentary leader of PMLF was present while the leaders of PML, MMAP and PMLZ were absent.
- Only 34 Members (9% of the total Membership of 369) were present at the start while 58 (16%) were there when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 159 (43%) were present at one point of the sitting.
- Five minority Members were present.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were no other formal agenda on the Orders of the Day.
- Eight Bills – the Punjab Finance Bill 2012, the Punjab Sales Tax on Services Bill 2012, the Punjab Agricultural Universities (Amendment) Bill 2012, the University of Health Sciences, Lahore (Amendment) Bill 2012, the King Edward Medical University (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Punjab Revenue Authority Bill 2012, the Punjab Curriculum Authority Bill 2012, and the Disposal of Land by Development Authorities (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill 2012 – appearing on the Orders of the day were passed by the House.
- The Punjab Finance Bill 2012 was passed when there were 123 Members present while the remaining seven bills were passed without Quorum.
- The schedule of Authorized Expenditure for the year 2012-13 was tabled in the House.
Order and Institutionalization
- Twelve Points of Order consumed 13 minutes of the sitting time.
- The sitting witnessed a 14-minute walkout by PPPP and PML Members against the use of unparliamentary language against women legislators from the Opposition Benches and the decision made by the Speaker over this issue.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The Quorum, visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, was not pointed out by any MPA.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN Development Organization, a member organization of FAFEN
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