ISLAMABAD, September 22, 2010: The third sitting of the 25th National Assembly session met for three hours and 25 minutes. The attendance of members at the outset of the sitting was observed to be slightly better, than the previous two sittings, with 108 present. However, there were only 53 legislators present when the sitting was adjourned. The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but was not pointed out by any of the members.
National Assembly in this sitting did not take up any bill, while nineteen Points of Orders (POs) were raised that took up 40 percent of the total sitting time.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 47 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 58 minutes. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 3 hours and 25 minutes.
- The third sitting started at 1755 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 55 minutes.
- The Speaker presided over the entire sitting. The Deputy Speaker was also present during the sitting
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 47 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 58 minutes.
- Only the Parliamentary Leader of MMAP was present, while the leaders of PPPS, ANP, MQM, PML, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- There was a 30-minute break on the account of prayers during the third Sitting
- A total of 108 (32%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 53 (16%) members at the end of the sitting.
- Sixteen members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as seven out of 10 minority members were present during the 3rd sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both the CANs.
- The Calling Attention Notices taken up by the House were directed to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources regarding ‘acute shortage of petrol in the country particularly in Southern Punjab’ and the Cabinet Secretariat regarding ‘the prices of LPG by Rs.10 per kg’.
- A total of 23 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 10 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- There were three Bills on the Orders of the Day. These bills were not taken up by the National Assembly.
- Three reports of the Standing Committees on “The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2007”, “The Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, Karachi Bill, 2007” and “The West Pakistan Regulation and Control of Loudspeakers and Sound Amplifiers (Amendment) Bill, 2007” were presented in the House.
Order and institutionalization
- 19 Points of Order was raised, consuming 80 minutes (40% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- An adjournment motion was admitted on “non-release of Dr Afia Siddique from prison in United States of America”.
- There was no instance of protest, walkout or boycott during the third 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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