ISLAMABAD, June 14, 2011: The National Assembly met for five hours and 37 minutes during the 9th sitting of the ongoing budget session. The sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 5% Members present at the outset of the sitting and 10% present when the sitting was adjourned. The maximum attendance of members at one point of the sitting was recorded at 42%.
The Members continued to debate on the budgetary proposals, and more than three fourths (77%) of the ninth sitting time was taken up by the general debate on the Budget. Twenty five Members including 12 of PMLN, six of PPPP, three of MQM, one Independent and one Member each of PML, MMAP and PPPS spoke on the budgetary proposals for four hours and twenty one minutes.
The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for five hours and 37 minutes.
- The ninth sitting started at 1035 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 35 minutes.
- The Speaker of the House chaired the sitting for 72 minutes and the Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 40 minutes. A male member of Panel of Chairpersons chaired the sitting for 88 minutes while a female member of Panel of Chairpersons chaired the remaining time of the sitting (137 minutes).
- The Prime Minister was present for 18 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent.
- Only the Parliamentary leader of PPPS was present during the sitting.
- Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, ANP and PPPS were present while those of other parliamentary parties were absent.
- A total of 17 (5%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, and 33 (10%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 144 (42%) Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- The Finance Minister was not present in the 9th sitting.
- Four Members appealed for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- All 10 minority Members were present during 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 taken up CAN was regarding the “loss of Rs. 97 billions to PIA, in the last three months”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Defense, and was moved by five Members- one female and four male- of the MQM.
- The second taken up CAN was regarding the “non-payment of salaries to the employees of Pak P.W.D., during the last three months, causing grave concern amongst the public”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry for Housing and Works, and was moved by five Members- three male and two female- of the PMLN.
- Twenty five Members took part in the debate on the budgetary proposals. Twelve Members of PMLN spoke on the budget for 106 minutes, six Members of PPPP took 57 minutes while three Members of MQM debated for a total of 35 minutes. One Member each of the PPPS, PML, MMAP and an Independent Member spoke on the topic for 41, 10, 8 and 4 minutes, respectively.
Order and Institutionalization
- Thirteen Points of Order were raised, which consumed 34 minutes of the sitting time.
- Four Ordinances were laid by the Federal Minister for Religious Affairs.
- No Adjournment Motion was raised during the course of the sitting.
- The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but was not pointed out by any Member.
- In protest against the June 13 killings in Karachi, the Parliamentary party of MQM staged a token walkout which lasted 55 minutes.
- 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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