ISLAMABAD, December 29, 2014: The Punjab Assembly passed two bills during the 13th sitting of the 11th session on Monday as low attendance of lawmakers persisted, says Free and Fair Election Network in its daily factsheet.
The House passed the Punjab Higher Education Commission Bill, 2014 and the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Center Bill, 2014 in the absence of opposition lawmakers.
Additionally, the House passed a resolution seeking extension of the Punjab Higher Education Commission Ordinance 2014 for a period of 90 days with effect from December 31.
The sitting started an hour and five minutes late with 28 (8%) members present at the start and 82 (22%) at the time of adjournment. The quorum was pointed out once during the entire sitting, following which the chair ordered the bells to be rung for five minutes. However, the quorum was found to be complete upon counting.
The Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader were absent. Among parliamentary leaders, only the PPPP and JI leaders attended the sitting.
Following are some key observations of the proceedings:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings:
- The Punjab Assembly met for three hours and 10 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1605 hours against the scheduled time of 1500 hours, witnessing a delay of an hour and five minute.
- As many as 28 members (8%) were present at the outset and 82 (22%) at the sitting’s adjournment of the sitting.
- A maximum of 102 (27%) members were present at one point of the sitting.
- The Speaker presided over the sitting two hours and 52 minutes while the rest of the proceedings were chaired by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition were absent.
- Among parliamentary leaders, only the PPPP and JI leaders attended the sitting.
- Three out of eight minority members were present.
- No member applied for leave.
- The House passed two bills – the Punjab Higher Education Commission Bill 2014 and the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Center Bill 2014 – in the absence of the opposition members.
- The House also passed a resolution seeking extension of the Punjab Higher Education Commission Ordinance 2014 for a period of 90 days with effect from December 31.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Nine out of 24 starred questions appearing on the agenda were answered by the relevant department while 30 supplementary questions were also raised during the sitting.
- A PML-N lawmaker moved an adjournment motion calling for abolition of entry tests for medical and engineering universities, claiming that they overburden students as well as parents. The motion was pended by the House for another sitting.
- Two out of three calling attention notices (CANs) appearing on the agenda were disposed of, while the third was withdrawn by the mover.
Order and Institutionalization
- The lawmakers raised 11 points of order (POs) that consumed nine minutes of the proceedings’ time.
- A PML-N lawmaker moved a privilege motion against the police for not lodging a complaint in a robbery case in his constituency and allegedly seeking bribes for this purpose.
- The quorum was pointed out at 1803 hours, following which the chair ordered the bells to be rung for five minutes. However, the quorum was found to be complete upon counting
- No protests/walkouts/boycotts were witnessed.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
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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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