ISLAMABAD, December 12, 2014: Starting 54 minutes behind schedule, the sixth sitting of the Punjab Assembly’s 11th session was marked by a discussion on the Parks and Horticulture Authority’s annual report for the year 2012-13, says Free and Fair Election Network in its daily factsheet.
Nine lawmakers – six from PML-N, one each from PML and JI and an independent member – took part in discussion for 47 minutes and condemned the cutting of trees in Lahore. They also praised the report and called for establishing similar bodies in various districts of South Punjab.
Attendance remained thin as only 10 members (3%) were seen at the outset and seven (2%) at the time of adjournment. The quorum was visibly lacking during the entire sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the lawmakers.
The Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader did not attend the sitting which was chaired by the Deputy Speaker.
Following are some key observations of the proceedings:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for two hours and 41 minutes.
- The sitting started at 0954 hours against the scheduled time of 0900 hours, witnessing a delay of 54 minutes.
- Ten members (3%) were present at the outset and seven (2%) at the adjournment. A maximum of 54 (15%) members were observed to be present at one point of the sitting.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the entire sitting.
- The Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader were absent.
- Among parliamentary leaders, only the JI leader attended the sitting.
- Two minority members were present.
- No member applied for leave.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Nine lawmakers – six from PML-N, one each from PML and JI and an independent member – took part in discussion on the Parks and Horticulture Authority’s annual report 2012-13 for 47 minutes and condemned the cutting of trees in Lahore. They appreciated the authority’s report and called for establishing similar bodies in various districts of South Punjab.
- Eleven out of 37 starred questions appearing on the agenda were answered by the relevant departments while 17 supplementary questions were raised by the MPAs.
- The House took up an adjournment motion (AM) moved by a PML-N lawmaker on the Population Welfare Department’s performance. Another AM moved by two PML lawmakers regarding non-implementation of decrease in transport fares was also taken up.
- Seven other AMs were adjourned for other sittings. These were related to decrease in admission fees at private medical colleges; embezzlement in fund allocated for road construction in Jhang; non-implementation of 10% quota for deserving students in private educational institutions; nepotism in purchase of paper for Lahore BISE; thwarting a crackdown on encroachment in Gujrat; leasing lands under the control of the Punjab government and increased financial expenditure of prisons due to moratorium on executions.
Order and Institutionalization
- The lawmakers raised nine points of order that consumed seven minutes of the proceedings’ time.
- No protests/walkouts/boycotts were witnessed during the sitting.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was unavailable to the observers and 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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