34th Session: Balochistan Assembly Skips Question Hour, Disqualifies Minority Member

Leader of the Opposition, Parliamentary Leaders of BNP and NP Remain Absent Throughout the Session

The Provincial Assembly of Balochistan passed two government bills and adopted four resolutions amid low attendance of lawmakers during its 34th session. The other highlights of the session include disqualification of a Minority Member and skipping of Question Hour due to absence of the relevant ministers or the movers, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Session Report.

The six-sitting session, which was marked by low attendance, began on September 21 and prorogued on October 1, 2016. On average 23 (33%) members were present at the outset and 20 (28%) at the adjournment of the sitting. Each sitting, on average started 53 minutes behind the schedule and lasted an hour and 51 minutes. The total time of the session remained 11 hours and six minutes. The fifth sitting was the longest that lasted three hours and 56 minutes while the second sitting was the shortest that consumed 39 minutes of the proceedings.

The Parliamentary Leaders of PML attended all the six sittings, followed by PkMAP (5), PML-N (4), ANP (3) and MWM and NP (two each). However, the Parliamentary Leaders of JUI-F, BNP and NP remained absent throughout the session.

The Speaker attended all the sittings and presided over the session for seven hours and 58 minutes (72%). The remaining three hours and eight minutes (28%) were chaired by the Members of Panel of Chairpersons. The Chief Minister attended four sittings and remained present for five hours and four minutes (46% of the session time) while the Leader of the Opposition did not attend any sitting during the entire session.

The House passed two government bills, The Balochistan Prohibition of Sheesha Smoking Bill, 2016 and The Balochistan Employees Efficiency and Discipline (Amendment) Bill, 2016 during the session. The Sheesha Smoking bill was aimed at prohibiting the sale, purchase, import and consumption of sheesh tobacco within the province owing to the growing habits of sheesha smoking maniac among youth. While, the Employees Efficiency and Discipline Amendment Bill, 2016 proposed to amend the existing law to fulfil the requirement under draft Balochistan Levies Force Disciplinary Rule, 2015.

The House adopted four out of nine resolutions appearing on the agenda during the reporting period. These resolutions were related to the provision of funds for less developed areas, condemnation of attack on Pakistani soil by neighboring India, establishment of NADRA Executive Office and separate counters for women citizens in the province, besides seeking actions against substandard beverage companies in the province.

Furthermore, three resolutions pertaining to issues of permanent employment of the staff working in Basic Health Units and District offices, commemorating September 8 as National Language Day and provision of compensation to the families of journalists and citizens who were killed in a blast in Quetta on August 8 were withdrawn by the movers after getting assurance from the ministers.

Two more resolutions on early completion of construction work at Pat Feeder Canal and payment of outstanding dues of water resources to the provincial government were referred to the Special Committee for further deliberations. Time consumed on the debates of lawmakers include six hours and seven minutes of the proceedings.

The House also adopted a motion under Rule 52 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business to declare the seat of a PML-N’s Minority Member, Santosh Kumar vacant due to his continued absence from the House for 40 consecutive days.

The House deferred all Starred Questions appearing on the agenda during entire session due to the absence of movers or relevant ministers.

Lawmakers raised 47 Points of Order (POs) that consumed two hours and four minutes of the session’s time. The highest number of POs (13) were raised during the last and sixth sitting consuming 20 minutes, while two POs consumed five minutes of the proceedings time during the third sitting.

Three reports of the Standing Committees on government bills were presented in the House while the lawmakers witnessed one incident of walkout by NP lawmakers for 54 minutes against the attitude of the government for not taking them into confidence over major decisions.

To download complete report, click here