ISLAMABAD, June 21, 2011: The National Assembly met for five hours and 42 minutes during the 15th sitting of the ongoing budget session. The sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 14% Members present at the outset of the sitting and 32% present when the sitting was adjourned. The maximum attendance of Members at one point of the sitting was recorded at 56%.
A total of 87 Cut Motions were raised against the nine Demands for Grants for the Interior Ministry. Another 66 Cut Motions were raised against the two Demands for Grants for the Water and Power Ministry. While all the cut motions raised against three demands for grants for the Religious Affairs Ministry were taken back by the opposition.
As many as 34 Members participated during the debate on the cut motions raised against various institutions for 276 minutes (81% of sitting time).
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 66 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the PPPS and NPP were the only ones present, while the Leaders of other parties did not attend the proceedings of the 15th sitting.
The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for five hours and 42 minutes.
- The fifteenth sitting started at 1048 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 48 minutes.
- The Speaker of the House chaired the sitting for 42 minutes and the Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 108 minutes. A male member of Panel of Chairpersons chaired the sitting for the 150 minutes.
- The Prime Minister was present for 66 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary leaders of the PPPS and NPP were present during the sitting, while those of the PML, MMAP, MQM, ANP and PMLF did not attend the sitting.
- The Chief Whips of the BNPA and MMAP remained absent, while those of the PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, PMLF and ANP were present.
- A total of 48 (14%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 110 (32%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 190 (56%) Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- The Finance Minister was present during the sitting.
- A total of 12 Members appealed for the leave to be absent from the proceedings of the sitting.
- All of the minorities Members were present during the course of the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one Calling Attention Notice.
- The taken up CAN was regarding the “increasing use of Sheesha in Colleges and Restaurants in Islamabad”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Interior, and was moved by five Members of the MQM.
- A total of 87 Cut Motions were raised against the nine Demands for Grants for the Interior Ministry. As many as 19 Members – 15 PMLN Members; three MMAP and one PPPS – spoke on the subject for 143 minutes. The debate was concluded by the Federal Minister for Interior. He spoke for 24 minutes.
- Another 66 Cut Motions were raised against the two Demands for Grants for the Water and Power Ministry. A total of 13 Members – 11 PMLN Members and two MMAP Members – spoke on the subject for 10 minutes. The Minister for Water and Power spoke for 19 minutes.
- All the cut motions raised against the three demands for grants for the Religious Affairs Ministry were taken back by the opposition.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of 12 Points of Order were raised, which consumed 15 minutes of the sitting time.
- There was no Adjournment Motion raised during the course of the sitting.
- There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts during the sitting.
- The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but it was not pointed out by any the Members.
- Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The copies of the budgetary proposals were available to the concerned.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a member organization of FAFEN
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