ISLAMABAD June 27, 2012: The passage of the budget 2012-13 in Sindh Assembly was swift and unperturbed as the entire membership is on the treasury benches, which spent 72% of the 36th session time debating the money matters, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its preliminary report on Wednesday.
In the third sitting the Finance Minister presented the budget in an hour and 35 minutes long speech. No Cut Motions – which are a means to express dissatisfaction on the budgetary proposals – were moved during the session.
Overall 90 MPAs – 19 women and 71 men – expressed their opinion on the budget for 23 hours and four minutes.
Sixty percent (55 out of 92) MPAs of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP); 45% (23 out of 51) representing Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM); 40% (four out of 10) Members of Pakistan Muslim League (PML); 63% (five out of eight) of Pakistan Muslim League Functional (PMLF); and all three National Peoples Party Members took part in the debate on budgetary proposals. The two Awami National Party (ANP) legislators remained silent.
The PPPP MPAs took almost 845 minutes to express their views on the budget. MQM legislators took 376 minutes; PMLF 79 minutes; NPP 48 minutes and PML Members 36 minutes to express views on the budget.
The Assembly met for 37 hours and 47 minutes for 11 sittings from June 7 to June 25. Each sitting lasted an average of three hours and 26 minutes, with each facing an average delay of an hour and 28 minutes.
The absence of the Chief Minister from the House during the budget session was noticeable. He attended five sittings for 532 minutes, while the parliamentary leader of MQM attended 10 sittings; ANP and PMLF (eight each), NPP (five) and the PML leader attended four sittings.
Since the Sindh Assembly Secretariat does not make attendance records of its Members public, FAFEN conducts a headcount of legislators at the beginning and end of each sitting and documents. During the budget session the participation and attendance of the legislators registered improvement.
On an average 23 Members were present at the start of each sitting and 65 at the end. A total of 109 Members (65% of total House strength) were present during the 11th sitting when the Finance Bill 2012-13 was passed.
The Speaker chaired the proceedings for 39% of the session time; the Deputy Speaker presided over 50%; and the remaining time (11%) was chaired by Members on the Panel of Chairpersons.
The House adopted three Resolutions. The first called upon the federal Government to enact a law on Plant Breeders Rights Protection; the second was to express sympathy with the families of army men who died in an avalanche at Siachen. The Assembly also adopted a Resolution calling for taking strict measures against extortionists and terrorists, and providing adequate security and protection to the business community in Sindh.
Additionally, the House passed the Habib University Bill 2012 and the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (Amendment) Bill 2012 during the session.
A total of 50 Points of Order consumed 6% (125 minutes) of the session time. None of these Points of Order attracted the Chair’s formal ruling. Unless the Chair gives a formal ruling on a Point of Order, it does not contribute to any assembly output.
Fifty-five out of 95 starred questions (requiring oral replies) appearing on the agenda were taken up and responded by the relevant ministries. Additionally, 136 Supplementary Questions were also asked.
During the 6th sitting, 31 Members offered condolences on the death of MNA Fauzia Wahab, which lasted 22 minutes. This was shortest sitting of the budget session.
Protesting against the law and order in Karachi, MQM legislators staged three walkouts during the session. These walkouts consumed 44 minutes.
About FAFEN: FAFEN is a network of 42 civil society organizations working to foster democratic accountabilities in Pakistan. It is governed by Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability.
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