ISLAMABAD, December 15, 2014: The 15th session of the Balochistan Assembly, requisitioned by the opposition benches to discuss deteriorating law and order in the province, was marked by low attendance of members, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its preliminary report.
Twenty-nine (45% of the total membership – 65) MPAs spent almost 57% (454 minutes) of the total session time to discuss law and order in Balochistan.
A part-wise analysis shows that seven out of 22 PML-N members spoke on the motion for 78 minutes, while seven out of 11 NP members spoke for 104 minutes.
Similarly, five out of 14 PkMAP lawmakers spoke for 103 minutes, followed by five out of eight JUI-F members speaking for 95 minutes. Three out of four PML members spoke on the motion for 44 minutes while one out of the two BNP members spoke for 17 minutes.
Among single member parties, members of MWM and BNP-A did not take part in the debate. However, the sole member of ANP spoke on the motion for 16 minutes.
The session, comprising six sittings, started on November 29 and concluded on December 12. The House met for 13 hours and 15 minutes with each sitting starting with a delay of 52 minutes on average and lasting two hours and 13 minutes.
Since the Balochistan Assembly does not share the members’ attendance record with the public, FAFEN conducts a headcount of members at the beginning and end of each sitting and documents the actual time spent on the floor of the House by the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
Members’ attendance remained low during the entire session as 33 (51%) lawmakers were present at the beginning of each sitting on average and 29 (47%) at the adjournment. The Chief Minister and the Opposition Leader attended five sittings each and spent 84% and 74% of the session time in the House respectively.
The Speaker chaired 52% of the session while the Deputy Speaker presided over 37% of the proceedings. The remaining time was chaired by members of the Panel of the Chairpersons.
The parliamentary leaders of PML-N and PML attended all the six sittings, followed by leaders of ANP and PkMAP (five each) and one sitting attended by the MWM leader. The parliamentary leaders of BNP and BNP-A did not attend any of the sittings.
Nine points of order – four each in the first and second sittings and one in the third sitting – consumed 11 minutes of the session.
The House adopted two resolutions appearing on the list of the business. Sponsored by a JUI-F member, the first resolution condemned the killing of JUI-F Sindh Secretary General Khalid Mehmood Soomro and polio workers besides denouncing the suicide attack targeting JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in Quetta. The other resolution moved by PkMAP member condemned the killing of a Christian couple in Kasur.
Seven PML-N members moved a privilege motion against the chief minister’s statement which alleged one of the party workers of being involved in corruption. However, the motion was withdrawn after receiving an explanation from the Leader of the House.
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The report is based on direct observation of the Balochistan Assembly proceedings conducted by Center for Peace and Development (CPD) – a member organization of FAFEN. Errors and omissions are regretted
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