ISLAMABAD, June 13, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 19 minutes during the 8th sitting of the ongoing 31st session to continue debate on budgetary proposals. Although no other agenda, apart from two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) and debate on budget, was listed on the Orders of the Day, the House spent 43% sitting time on proceedings unrelated to budget. Besides a 17-minute token walkout- staged by the parliamentary party of PMLN and joined by PPPS, a member from PML and an independent Member- and a boycott of the budget session declared by a PPPP member, the sitting also witnessed six points of order consuming 34 minutes of House proceedings.
The House, during the course of 8th sitting proceedings, also offered Fateha for the victims of recent Peshawar blast and received a verbal report of the Standing Committee on Human Rights on Kharotabad Quetta incident, in which five foreigners were killed. A total of 12 members- 5 from PPPP, 3 each from PMLN and MQM and one independent member – spoke on the budgetary proposals for 114 minutes.
The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 19 minutes.
- The eighth sitting started at 1755 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 55 minutes.
- The Speaker of the House chaired the sitting for 76 minutes, while the remaining sitting time was presided over by a member of Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Deputy Speaker remained absent during the 8th sitting.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 71 minutes while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent.
- The Finance Minister was not present during the 8th sitting of budget session.
- The Parliamentary leaders of the PML and PPPS were present while those of the MMAP, MQM, ANP, PMLF, BNPA and NPP did not attend the sitting.
- The Chief Whips of the MMAP, NPP and BNPA remained, while those of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, ANP and PPPS were present.
- A total of 80 (23%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 23 (7%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 178 (52%) Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- A total of 9 Members appealed for the leave to be absent from the proceedings of the eighth sitting.
- A total of seven out of 10 minority Members were present during the sitting.
- The House took up a 21-minute break on account of the prayers.
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, moved by five members of PMLN regarding was directed to
- A total of 12 Members took part in the debate on the budgetary proposals. These included five Members of the PPPP, three each of PMLN and MQM and one independent Member for 114 minutes (57% of the sitting time).
- A member of ANP led the Fateha, offered by the House for the victims of recent Peshawar blast.
- A member of NA Standing Committee on Human Rights presented a verbal report on the incident of Kharotabad, Quetta, in which five foreigners were killed.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of six Points of Order were raised, which consumed 34 minutes of House proceedings.
- There were two instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts during the sitting. A 17-minute token walkout was staged by the parliamentary party of PMLN and was joined by PPPS, a member from PML and an independent Member on the issues of extra-judicial killing of a young man in Karachi, Drone Attacks and Abbottabad incident.
- A PPPP member from Balochistan declared the boycott of the budget session if his demands on Balochistan issues are not met.
- The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but it was not pointed out by any the Members.
- Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The copies of the budgetary proposals were available to the concerned.
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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