ISLAMABAD, March 5, 2015: Thin attendance and low participation of senators marked the 111th session of the Upper House which was prorogued on March 4, 2015. Four private member bills were passed during the session, including the Anti-Honour Killings Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill 2014, while one resolution was also adopted.
The session – comprising four sittings – started on February 27 and ended on March 4, lasting six hours and seven minutes. On average, each sitting started 40 minutes behind the schedule with 11 members present at the outset and 24 at the end.
Since the Senate does not share the attendance of lawmakers with the public, FAFEN conducts a headcount of lawmakers at the start and end of each sitting and documents the actual time spent by the members on the floor of the House.
The Prime Minister and the Leader of the House did not attend any of the four sittings, while the Leader of the Opposition was present in two sittings. The Chairman attended all the four sittings and presided 85% of the proceedings. The Deputy Speaker was present in three sittings and chaired 15% of the session. Among party leaders, the PkMAP leader attended all the sittings, followed by PML and ANP (two each) and NP, PML-N and JUI-F (one each).
Seven private member bills appeared on the second sitting’s agenda. Four of these bills were passed, while three others were not taken up due to the absence of the mover.
The passed bills included Anti-Honour Killings Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill 2014, the Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Rape (Prevention and Punishment) Bill 2014, the Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Privatization Commission (Amendment) Bill 2013.
Five private resolutions appeared on the agenda during the second sitting. Four resolutions were not taken up, while the fifth resolution tabled by a JUI-F lawmaker regarding deployment of paramilitary forces at Pak-China border was adopted.
Six motions under Rule 218 appeared on the list of business, of which four were debated. Tabled by an ANP senator, the taken up motions dealt with non-payment of net hydro profits to the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in line with AGN Kazi formula and Arbitration Award of 2006, supply of contaminated water in Islamabad, CDA’s performance on removal of encroachments and NDMA’s performance in wake of the floods in September 2014.
The unaddressed motions were related to drought in Thar and provision of free education to children between five and 16 years.
Thirty-two out of 90 (36%) starred questions were taken up during the session. Additionally, the senators raised 85 supplementary questions. Of these, 22 were addressed to Ministry of Housing and Works, followed by the Ministries of Water and Power (18), Petroleum and Natural Resources (15), Interior and Narcotics Control (eight), Communication (five) and National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination (four).
A total of 17 reports were presented before the House. Six reports were related to legislative bills, while nine periodic reports came from the various standing committees. In addition, the first quarterly report of the State Bank of Pakistan’s Central Board for the fiscal year 2014-15 and another report prepared by the Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunications regarding a point of order (PO) raised by a PML-N senator on January 24, 2012 were also presented during the session.
The House did not take up a motion of thanks to express gratitude to the President for his address to the joint session of the Parliament on June 2, 2014.
The House took up a CAN sponsored by ANP lawmakers regarding non-provision of funds for ongoing gas projects in Lower Dir. In addition, an ANP lawmaker’s motion to amend sub-rule (1) of Rule 198 of the Senate was forwarded to the relevant standing committee.
A total of 25 points of order were raised during the session which consumed 47 minutes of the session’s duration. The entire opposition staged two joint walkouts against the diversion of Pak-China Economic Corridor’s original route. The walkouts consumed three minutes of the total proceedings.
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This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of FAFEN and in no way reflect the views of the European Union. This daily factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by PATTAN Development Organization – a member organization of FAFEN. Errors and omissions are excepted.
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