ISLAMABAD, December 20, 2010: The Twenty-Seventh Session of the National Assembly began with low attendance of Members, with only 20 % of the Members present at the outset and 27% present when the sitting was adjourned.
The first sitting, which started 40 minutes late, lasted three hours, debated upon the Registration (Amendment) Bill, 2010, without reaching a conclusive end was deferred indefinitely.
Almost half of the sitting time (44%) was consumed by Points of Order. Although the Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, this fact was not pointed out by any of the Members.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 40 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 75 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the ANP and MQM the only ones present, while the other party leaders remained absent. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business disposed of during the first sitting:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for a total of three hours in first sitting.
- The sitting started at 1040 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 40 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the sitting. The entire sitting was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 40 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 75 minutes.
- Only the parliamentary leaders of the MQM and ANP were present, while the leaders of the PPPS, MMAP, PML, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP and MQM were present, while the chief whips of the MMAP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 69 (20%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 91 (27%) Members were observed to be present at the end of the sitting.
- A total of six out of 10 minority Members were present during the fist sitting of 27th Session.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The taken up CAN was regarding “increase in the prices of ghee, oil and other essential commodities at Utility Stores in the country”. This was directed to the Ministry of Industries and Production and was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 27 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 11 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 31 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the first sitting.
- National Assembly debated upon the Registration (Amendment) Bill, 2010. However, no conclusions were drawn and this bill was deferred for an indefinite period. The other bill on the Orders of the Day [The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2008] was not taken up by the House.
- One Standing Committee report regarding a Question of Privilege was presented during the course of the sitting by the chairperson of the Standing Committee on Rules of Procedures and Privileges.
Order and institutionalization
- Seven Points of Order were raised, consuming 80 minutes (44% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted the Chair’s ruling.
- The sitting witnessed a walkout staged by an Independent Member. The Member expressed his reservations regarding the alleged kidnapping of people by Government agencies in Balochistan.
- Orders of the Day were 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 during the sitting.
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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