ISLAMABAD, February 01, 2011: The National Assembly met for two hours and 45 minutes in the 7th sitting of the ongoing Session. The sitting witnessed low attendance of members with only 14% of the legislators present at the outset of the sitting and 26% present when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 46% MNAs were observed to be present at one point during the sitting. The Quorum was visible lacking at various stages of the sitting. The lack of Quorum was called by a female parliamentarian of the PPPP during the course of the sitting. The sitting remained adjourned for 35 minutes.
A total of 28 Points of Order were raised, which consumed 48% of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
The House passed the Privatization Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2009 during the course of the sitting.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 15 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was not present. The Parliamentary Leader of the PPPS was the only one present, whereas the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not attend the sitting’s proceedings.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and 45 minutes.
- The seventh sitting started at 1040 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 40 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the initial 15 minutes of the sitting, while the remaining time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 15 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the PPPS was the only one present, while the leaders of the PML, ANP, MQM, MMAP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN and MQM were present, while the chief whips of ANP, PML, MMAP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 47 (14%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 87 (26%) Members were present at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 158 Members (46%) was observed at one point of the sitting.
- Six Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both the CANs.
- The first CAN was regarding the “increase of more than Rs. 140 billion in the circular debt of PSO resulting in its poor financial condition”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and was moved by four Members of the PMLN.
- The other CAN was regarding the “unchecked import, manufacturing and sale of unregistered syringes resulting in spreading deadly diseases like aids and hepatitis” which was directed to the Ministry of Health. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PML.
- There was no Question and Answer session as Tuesday’s sitting was a Private Members Day.
- There were five bills listed on the Orders of the Day. The Privatization Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2009 was taken up and subsequently passed by the National Assembly. The remaining four bills were not taken up during the sitting.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of 28 Points of Order were raised, consuming 80 minutes (48% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- A total of five Resolutions were tabled on the Orders of the Day, which were not taken up by the House.
- There was no adjournment motion raised during the course of the sitting.
- A total of five Motions Under Rule 259 were listed on the agenda, but were not taken up by the House.
- One Matter of Public Importance regarding ““Afghan Transit Trade Agreement-2010 and its effects on the economy of Pakistan” was also listed for the Private Members’ Day agenda, but was not taken up by the House.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the seventh sitting.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The lack of Quorum was called by a female parliamentarian of the PPPP during the course of the sitting. The sitting remained adjourned for 35 minutes.
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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