ISLAMABAD, April 6, 2015: The first sitting of the Sindh Assembly’s 19th session saw the passage of Sindh Commission on the Status of Women Bill 2015 and witnessed introduction of Sindh Coastal Authority (amendment) Bill 2015 and Sindh Finance (amendment) Bill 2015 on Monday, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN).
The House also witnessed a number of walkouts and protests by opposition lawmakers mainly due to refusal of the Chair to allow them to speak on points of order.
As many as 76 lawmakers (46%) were present at the start and 27 (16%) at the time of adjournment of the proceedings that started 65 minutes behind the schedule.
The House did not reconsider the Sindh Physiotherapy Council Bill, 2014, the Sindh Pharmacy Council Bill, 2014, the Sindh Nursing Council Bill, 2014 and the Post-Graduate College of Medical Sciences Sindh Bill, 2014.
A resolution to authorize the parliament under article 147 of the constitution to enact the printing and publication of gazette material by private person Act, 2015 was not taken up.
The House passed a resolution to pay tribute to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on the eve of his 36th death anniversary.
Sponsored by MQM lawmaker, the House took up a calling attention notice (CAN) for halting encroachment operation at Quaidabad flyover in Karachi. Another four CANs regarding loan borrowing from various organizations by the Government of Sindh, non-availability of books despite start of new session of academic year, 2015, shortage of medicine in Khairpur Hospital, and delay in issuance of job orders for the post of ASIs were not taken up.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings:
- The Sindh Assembly met for three hours and 29 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1105 hours against the scheduled time of 1000 hours, witnessing a delay of 65 minutes.
- The Speaker presided over the sitting for two hours and 39 minutes while the remaining time was chaired by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Chief Minister attended the sitting for an hour and 30 minutes while the Leader of the Opposition was present for 53 minutes.
- The parliamentary leaders of PPPP, MQM, PTI and PML-F attended the sitting.
- Only 76 lawmakers (46%) were present at the start of the sitting and 27 (16%) at the time of adjournment.
- Seventy-six members (46%) were present at the outset and 27 (16%) at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 91 members (54%) were seen at one point of the sitting.
- Five minority members attended the sitting.
- None of the members applied for leave.
- The House passed the Sindh Commission on the Status of Women Bill 2015 while it witnessed introduction of the Sindh Coastal Authority (amendment) Bill 2015 and the Sindh Finance (amendment) Bill 2015.
- The House passed a resolution to pay tribute to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on the eve of his 36th death anniversary.
Representation and Responsiveness
- All five starred questions appearing on Orders of the Day were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries/departments. In addition, the legislators raised 28 supplementary questions during the sitting.
- Sponsored by MQM lawmaker, the House took up a calling attention notice (CAN) for halting encroachment operation at Quaidabad flyover in Karachi.
Order and Institutionalization
- Members spoke on 10 points of order for 12 minutes.
- MQM members protested for six minutes when the Speaker did not allow one of their colleagues to speak on a point of order. They also staged a walkout for nine minutes.
- PML-F and PML-N lawmakers protested for about three minutes and staged a walkout for five minutes when the Chair did not allow the Opposition Leader to highlight the issue of shortage of wheat procurement centers in Sindh.
- MQM lawmakers protested for 22 minutes when disallowed by the Speaker to speak on the matter of resignation of PTI members through points of order.
- MQM, PML-F and PML-N members protested for four minutes on the issue of not getting permission to speak on a point of order following which the Deputy Speaker suspended the proceedings for ten minutes.
- PML-N, PML-F and MQM members walked out of the House at 1344 hours and did not return till the adjournment of the sitting.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to members, observers and others.
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The Session Report is based on direct observation of Sindh Assembly proceedings conducted by Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), a member organization of FAFEN
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