ISLAMABAD, July 21, 2011: The National Assembly met for four hours and 16 minutes during the first sitting of the 32nd Session on Thursday, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the National Assembly Proceedings.
The first sitting of the requisitioned session witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 85 Members present at the outset and 42 present when the sitting was adjourned. The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, lack of it was not pointed out by any of the Members.
The House suspended the regular agenda to discuss the law and order condition in Karachi, and Azad Kashmir Elections. A total of nine Members spoke on the issue for 182 minutes.
Members of the MQM and PMLN staged a token walkout on the issue of Government’s agenda being itemized on the Orders of the Day, while the session was requisitioned by the Opposition.
The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the proceedings of the sitting. The Parliamentary Leader of the NPP was the only one present, while the other leaders of parliamentary parties remained absent. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for four hours and 16 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1716 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 16 minutes.
- The Speaker remained absent during the proceedings. The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 225 minutes, while the remaining time was presided over a Member of Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Prime Minister the Leader of Opposition did not attend the proceedings of the first sitting.
- The Parliamentary Leader of the NPP was the only one present, while were present, while the leaders of the PML, MQM, MMAP, PMLF, ANP, PPPS and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM and ANP were present, while the chief whips of MMAP, ANP and PMLF were absent.
- The House took a 33-minute break for prayers.
- A total of 85 (30%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 42 (12%) Members at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 153 Members (45%) was observed at one point of the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House did not take up any of the CANs.
- The House suspended the regular agenda to debate on the law and order condition in Karachi, and Azad Kashmir Elections.
- A total of nine Members – four Members of the PMLN, two Members of the MQM, one Member each of the PML and PPPP, and one Independent Member – spoke on the issue for 182 minutes.
- There were two bills [The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Regulation and Enforcement) Bill, 2011] and [The Private Power and Infrastructure Board Bill, 2010] on the Orders of the Day., which were not taken up by the House.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of 11 Points of Order were raised, consuming 18 minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- Members of the MQM and PMLN staged a token walkout on the issue of “regular agenda being itemized on the Orders of the Day”, while the session was requisitioned to discuss the law and order condition in the country, and Azad Kashmir Elections.
- 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 National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a Member organization of FAFEN.
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