ISLAMABAD, February 2, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 10 minutes with low Members’ attendance during the eighth sitting of the ongoing 28th session. A total of 61 Members were present at the outset, while only 24 were present when the sitting was adjourned. The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but it was not pointed out by any of the Members. A maximum of 161 Members’ attendance was recorded at one point during the sitting.
As many as 49 Points of Order were raised, consuming 74% of the sitting time. However, none of these Points of Order attracted Speaker’s formal ruling. Besides raising Points of Order, the House passed the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation (ERRA) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting’s proceedings for 66 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 80 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties remained absent. The parliamentary party of the ANP staged a walkout over the issue of ‘non-allocation of development funds to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 10 minutes.
- The eighth sitting started at 1055 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 55 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for 135 minutes, while the Deputy Speaker presided over the sitting for the remaining time.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 66 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition attended the sitting for 80 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM and PPPS were present, while the leaders of the PML, MMAP, ANP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN and MQM were present, while the chief whips of PML, ANP, MMAP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 61 (18%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 24 (7%) Members were present at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 161 Members (47%) was observed at one point of the sitting, when the Prime Minister was present.
- Seven Members applied for leave of absence from the sitting.
- A total of seven out of 10 minority Members were present during the 8th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The taken up CAN was regarding “the shortage of urea fertilizer and increase of its price”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Industries and Production and moved by five Members of the PPPP.
- A total of 24 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 10 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 32 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the eighth sitting.
- The National Assembly unanimously passed the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
- The National Defence University Bill, 2009 was also taken up but was deferred by the House.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of 49 Points of Order were raised, consuming 140 (74%) minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- The witnessed a walkout by Members of the ANP over the issue of non-allocation of development funds in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The Members staged a walkout at 1410 hours and did not come back to attend the sitting’s remaining proceedings.
- 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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