ISLAMABAD, October 05, 2010: The National Assembly met for three hours and 35 minutes in the 12th sitting (Private Members’ Day) of the ongoing Session. The sitting witnessed low attendance of members with only 8% of the legislators present at the outset of the sitting and 17% present when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 50% MNAs were present in the House when Prime Minister was present. The Quorum was visible lacking at various stages of the sitting, but was not pointed out by any of the Members.
The House continued debate on admitted adjournment motion on “Dr Aafia’s sentence” for 65 minutes, while 25 Points of Order were raised, which consumed 80 minutes of the sitting time. The National Assembly also passed two resolutions, which were debated upon for 34 minutes.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 69 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. Only the Parliamentary Leader of MMAP was present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties remained absent. The parliamentary parties of PMLN and PML staged a token walkout against promulgation of Presidential Ordinance on NAB. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 35 minutes.
- The twelfth sitting started at 1035 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 35 minutes.
- A Member of the Panel of Chairpersons presided over the sitting for 69 minutes, while the remaining time of the sitting was chaired by the Speaker. The Deputy Speaker remained absent.
- The Prime Minister was present for 69 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- Only the Parliamentary Leader MMAP was present, while the leaders of PPPS, PML, MQM, ANP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of ANP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 26 (8%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 59 (17%) members at the end of the sitting.
- Eleven members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as seven out of 10 minority members were present during the 12thsitting.
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 was regarding the “import of 95,000 tons of substandard sugar from India and packing thereof in the bags of Thailand and Brazil by the officials of TCP” which was directed to the Ministry of Commerce. This CAN was moved by five members of the PMLN.
- There was no Question Hour, as today was a Private Members’ Day.
- There was one bill [The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2010] on the Orders of the Day which was brought to the agenda by a female parliamentarian of PPPP. The bill was not taken up by the House, as the mover was not present.
Order and institutionalization
- 25 Points of Order were raised, consuming 80 minutes of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There were four resolutions on the Orders of the Day. The House passed two resolutions.
- The first resolution regarding the “restoration of educational increments of all Federal Government servants” was moved by a female member of PMLN. The mover spoke for two minutes on the resolution.
- The other resolution was regarding the “standard of Sports Federations in the country” which was moved by a female member of PPPP. A total of fifteen MNAs, which included the Speaker, the Federal Minister for Culture, eight members of the PMLN, three of the MQM, one of the PPPP and an independent member spoke on the resolution for 32 minutes.
- The House further debated on the admitted Adjournment Motion regarding “non-release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from prison in the USA” for 65 minutes. A total of nine members spoke on the issue, which included seven members of PMLN and two members of PML. The Federal Minister for Tourism and the State Minister for Interior also took part in the debates.
- There was one Motion Under Rule 259 on the Orders of the Day, regarding “Human Rights violations in the Occupied Kashmir” which was not taken up by the House.
- There was an instance of a token walkout by members of the PMLN and PML. The members expressed their reservations over not being taken into confidence on the “National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance”. The walkout lasted five minutes.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the members of the National Assembly.
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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