ISLAMABAD, January 24, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 28 minutes during the first sitting of the 28th Session that went under way on Monday, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the National Assembly Proceedings.
The long stretched first sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 61 Members present at the outset and 42 present when the sitting was adjourned. Almost half of the sitting time (49%) was consumed by Points of Order.
The House did not take up the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 52 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 65 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the PML, MMAP, PPPS and MQM were present, while the other party leaders remained absent. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 28 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1700 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 60 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the initial 47 minutes of the sitting, while the remaining 161 minutes were presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 52 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 65 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of PML, MQM, MMAP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of ANP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, and ANP were present, while the chief whips of ANP, PMLF, NPP, BNPA, MMAP and PPPS were absent.
- The House took a 33-minute break for prayers.
- A total of 61 (18%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 42 (12%) Members at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 185 Members (54%) was observed at one point of the sitting, when the Prime Minister was present.
- A total of five out of 10 minority Members were present during the first sitting of 28th Session.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both the CANs.
- The first CAN was regarding the “sacking of 4500 employees of KESC”, which was directed to the Ministry of Water and Power. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PPPP.
- The second CAN was regarding the” sale of its profitable routes of U.S.A., Europe and London to Turkish Airlines by PIA “. This CAN was directed towards the Ministry of Defence, and was moved by four Members of the PMLN and an Independent Member.
- A total of 22 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only six were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 14 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the first sitting.
- There was one Bill [The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2010] on the Orders of the Day, which was not taken up by the House.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of 15 Points of Order were raised, consuming 102 (49%) minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- Members of the PMLN raised an Adjournment Motion regarding the price hike in daily use items. This motion was admitted, and the debate is most likely to start from tomorrow.
- The Parliamentary Party of the PMLN protested during the sitting’s proceedings, when one of their Members was not given the formal ruling by the Speaker to raise his concern through a Point of Order. The protest lasted three minutes.
- 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 of the 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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