ISLAMABAD, December 19, 2012: Starting 33 minutes late, the 8th sitting of the ongoing National Assembly session continued to witness the low attendance of members as only 42 members (13% of the total membership) were present at the outset whereas 52 (16%) were there when the sitting was adjourned. The Prime Minister, the Leader of the House, the Speaker, and the parliamentary leaders of MQM, MMAP, ANP, PPS and PMLF did not attend the sitting.
As many as 26 points of order were raised with consumed 47% of the sitting time.
The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2012 was introduced and a standing committee report on the Islamabad Capital Territory Private Education Institutions (Registration and Regulation) Bill 2007 was presented.
A supplementary resolution condemning the murder of polio workers in Karachi and Peshawar was tabled and unanimously adopted by the house. It was jointly moved by the PPPP, PMLN and MQM legislators.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and 32 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1133 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1100 hours, witnessing a delay of 33 minutes.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 91 minutes. The rest of the sitting was chaired by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- The parliamentary leaders of PML, BNPA and NPP were present while those of MQM, MMAP, ANP, PMLF and PPPS were absent.
- The chief whips of PPPP, PMLN, MMAP, ANP, NPP and BNPA were present while those of MQM, PML and PMLF did not attend the sitting.
- Forty-two members (13% of the total membership) were present at the outset while 52 (16%) were there at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 128 (38%) members were present at one point of the sitting.
- Six minority members attended the sitting.
- Six members applied for leave.
Representation and Responsiveness
- One of the two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) appearing on the orders of the day was taken up by the house. It was about overcharging the consumers in monthly electricity bills for over three years in Karachi.
- The other CAN – about rampant medical quackery in Islamabad – was not taken up because of the confusion regarding which ministry should respond to the CAN.
- Further discussion was held on the motion under rule 259 about the law and order situation. A PML legislator deliberated for 22 minutes about the issue.
- Three of the 23 starred questions (requiring oral responses on the floor of the house besides the written ones) were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, five supplementary questions were asked.
- A joint PPPP, PMLN, and MQM supplementary resolution condemning the murder of polio workers in Karachi and Peshawar was tabled and unanimously adopted by the house. It also called upon the government to provide security to the polio workers and provide compensation to the families of the deceased.
- The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2012 was introduced and subsequently referred to the concerned standing committee.
- A standing committee report on the Islamabad Capital Territory Private Education Institutions (Registration and Regulation) Bill 2007 was presented.
Order and Institutionalization
- Twenty-six Points of Order were raised which consumed 72 minutes (47%) of the sitting time. None of the Points of Order attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
- The quorum was pointed out by a legislator but when counted, the minimum members required for the quorum were present.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was not available to observers and the public.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI); a member organization of FAFEN
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