ISLAMABAD, June 15, 2011: The National Assembly met for five hours and 35 minutes during the 10th sitting of the ongoing budget session. The long stretched sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 9% Members present at the outset of the sitting and 4% present when the sitting was adjourned. The maximum attendance of Members at one point of the sitting was recorded at 44%.
The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but it was not pointed out by any the Members.
The Members continued to debate on the budgetary proposals, and 93% of tenth sitting time was taken up by the general debate. Twenty Six Members – 12 Members of the PMLN; eight Members of the PPPP; three Members of the MQM; two Members of the PML; and one Member of the MMAP – spoke on the budgetary proposals for five hours and 10 minutes.
The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for five hours and 35 minutes.
- The tenth sitting started at 1055 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 50 minutes, while the Deputy Speaker was absent.
- Two Members of Panel of Chairpersons, including Mr. Abdul Qadir Patel and Mr. Riaz Fatyana chaired the proceedings of the House for 95 and 190 minutes, respectively.
- The Prime Minister was present for 25 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary leaders of the PPPS and PML were present during the sitting, while those of the MMAP, NPP, MQM, ANP and PMLF did not attend the sitting.
- The Chief Whips of the MMAP, NPP, BNPA and PMLF remained absent, while those of the PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP and MQM were present.
- A total of 32 (9%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while only 14 (9%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 151 (44%) Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- The Finance Minister was not present during the sitting.
- As many as two Members appealed for the leave to be absent from the proceedings of the sitting.
- A total of nine out of 10 minority Members were present during the sitting.
Represetation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one Calling Attention Notice.
- The taken up CAN was regarding the “21.7% increase in the trade deficit in the preceding months”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Commerce, and was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- Twenty six Members took part in the debate on the budgetary proposals. A total of 12 Members of PMLN spoke on the budget for 150 minutes; eight Members of PPPP took 107 minutes; three Members of MQM debated for a total of 35 minutes; two Members of the PML spoke on the topic for 16 minutes; and one MMAP Member took six minutes to give his point of view.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of three Points of Order were raised, which consumed four minutes of the sitting time
- There was no Adjournment Motion raised during the course of the sitting.
- There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts during the sitting.
- 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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