262-Minute debate on budget in low attendance 13th Sitting

ISLAMABAD, June 18, 2010: The 13th sitting of the 23rd Session debated on the budgetary proposals for a total of 262 minutes. The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 8 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was absent. The sitting was marked by low attendance with only 37 members present at the outset and 36 present at the end, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on National Assembly proceedings.

The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The National Assembly met for 05 hours and 48 minutes.
  • The 13th sitting started at 1027 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 27 minutes.
  • The Speaker chaired the sitting for 66 minutes, while the Deputy Speaker presided over the sitting for 119 minutes. The remaining 93 minutes were chaired by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq (Member of Panel of Chairpersons).
  • The Prime Minister attended the sitting for eight minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the 13th sitting.
  • The House took a break of 70 minutes on the account of prayers and lunch.
  • Parliamentary Leader of only PML was present, while the leaders of PMLF, PPPS, MQM, ANP, NPP, MMAP and BNPA did not attend the sitting.
  • The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN and PML were present, while those of PMLF, PPPS, ANP, MQM, MMAP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
  • As many as 11 members appealed for leave to be absent from 13th sitting.
  • 37 (11%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 36 (10%) members were present when the sitting was adjourned.
  • A total of eight minority members were present during the thirteenth sitting.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • As many as 26 members spoke on the budgetary proposals presented during the third sitting.
  • As many as six members of PPPP spoke for a total of 62 minutes. 11 members of PMLN took 88 minutes to speak on the proposed budget. Four PML members took 61 minutes, while three MQM members took 21 minutes to give their opinion on budgetary proposals. One MMAP and one Independent member took 19 and 11 minutes respectively.
  • The Minister for Finance and Revenue did not attend the sitting.

Order and institutionalization

  • There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
  • There was no instance of protest, boycott or walkout during the sitting.


  • Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and others.
  • Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
  • The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the members of National Assembly.

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