ISLAMABAD April 15, 2011: The National Assembly met for an hour and 45 minutes during the fifth sitting of the ongoing 30th session. The sitting which started 45 minutes late witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 48 Members present at the beginning and 65 present when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 117 Members was observed to be present at one point of the sitting.
The National Assembly did not debate on the Presidential Address during the course of the sitting.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 10 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the PMLF, NPP and PPPS were the only ones present, whereas the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not attend the sitting’s proceedings. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for an hour and 45 minutes.
- The fifth sitting started at 1045 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 45 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 briefly for 10 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the PPPS, NPP and PMLF were the only ones present, while the leaders of the PML, MMAP, ANP, MQM and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP and PMLN were present, while the chief whips of the MQM, MMAP, BNPA, PML, PMLF and ANP were absent.
- A total of 48 (14%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 65 (19%) members at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 117 Members (34%) was observed at one point of the sitting.
- As many as six out of 10 minority members were present during the 5th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both the CANs.
- The first CAN was regarding the “letting through 3 lac cusec water from Tarbela Dam and closure of its 11 productive units”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Water and Power and was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- The other CAN was regarding the “attack on passenger vehicles in Parachinar, Khurram Agency by terrorists killing innocent persons” which was directed to the Ministry of Interior. This CAN was moved by four Independent Members.
- A total of 33 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only nine were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- A total of 20 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the fifth sitting.
- There was no Bills on the Orders of the Day
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 11 Points of Order were raised, consuming 24 minutes (22%) of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- The National Assembly did not debate on the Presidential Address during the course of the sitting.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the fifth sitting.
- 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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