ISLAMABAD, November 05, 2010: The National Assembly met for two hours andfour minutes in the fifth sitting of the ongoing 26th session. The sitting witnessedlow attendance of members with only 49 members present at the outset, while99 were present when the sitting was adjourned.
The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but the lack of itwas not pointed out by any of the legislators. The National Assembly passed boththe bills which were on the Orders of the Day.
More than half (52%) of the sitting time was taken up by the Question Hour. TheNational Assembly did not debate on the adjournment motion regarding theincrease in the prices of petroleum products.
The boycott by the MQM continued during the fifth sitting. The MQM membersboycotted the entire session’s proceedings due to the price hike in petroleum products.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 28 minutes, while the Leaderof Opposition was present for 22 minutes. Only the Parliamentary Leaders of thePPPS and PML were present, while the leaders of other Parliamentary Parties didnot show up.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and four minutes.
- The fifth sitting started at 1038 Hours against the scheduled starting timeof 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 38 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the sitting. The entire sitting waspresided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 28 minutes, while the Leader ofOpposition was present for 22 minutes.
- Only the Parliamentary Leaders of the PML and PPPS were present, whilethe leaders of MMAP, ANP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PML, MMAP and ANP were present, while thechief whips of PMLN, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 49 (14%) members were present at the outset of the sitting,while 99 (29%) members were present at the end of the sitting.
- Fourteen members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of five out of 10 minority members were present during the 5thsitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day.The House took up one CAN.
- The taken up CAN was regarding “corruption of bank employees andmiddle men in the issuance of Watan Cards to the flood affectees”. TheCAN was directed to the Cabinet Secretariat and was moved by fivemembers of PMLN.
- A total of 28 questions were listed to be taken up during the QuestionsHour. However, only nine were raised and responded to by the relevantminister.
- The Question Hour took an hour and six minutes of the sitting time.
- A total of 23 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House duringthe fifth sitting.
- There were two bills [‘The West Pakistan Regulation and Control ofLoudspeakers and Sound Amplifiers (Amendment) Bill, 2007’ and ‘TheArbitration (International Investment Disputes) Bill, 2010’] on the Ordersof the Day. The House passed both the bills during the course of thesitting.
- A Standing Committee [Rules of Procedure and Privileges] report waspresented in the House. The report was regarding a Question of Privilegeraised by a FATA MNA regarding “misbehavior of Chairman BISE, Kohat”.
Order and institutionalization
- One Point of Order was raised, which took two minutes of the sitting.However, the Point of Order raised by the Member did not attract theSpeaker’s ruling.
- Two Questions of Personal Privilege were raised by a PPPP member duringthe sitting. The QoPs were regarding the misconduct and misbehavior ofManaging Director of Pakistan State Oil and Managing Director of SuiNorthern Gas Company. The questions were referred to the Committee ofRules of Procedure and Privileges.
- There was one admitted Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Dayregarding “the increase in the prices of petroleum products resulting inprice-hike in the country”. The motion was debated upon during thesitting.
- There was one Motion Under Rule 259 regarding “Human Rights violationsin the Occupied Kashmir”, which was not taken up by the House.
- Members of MQM continued their boycott of session’s proceedings duringthe course of the fifth sitting
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers andthe 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 ofthe 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
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