ISLAMABAD, January 26, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and nine minutes during the third sitting of the ongoing 28th session. The sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with 105 Members present at the outset and 79 were present when the sitting was adjourned. Although the Quorum was visibly lacking at various sitting of the sitting, this was not pointed out by any of the Members.
The Pakistan Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, 2011 was introduced during the course of the sitting. A total of 22 Points of Order were raised consuming 17% of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised attracted Speaker’s formal ruling.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 27 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 58 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM and PPPS were the only ones present, whereas the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not turn up for the sitting’s proceedings. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and nine minutes.
- The third sitting started at 1700 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 60 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the initial 49 minutes of the sitting, while the Deputy Speaker presided over the remaining 140 minutes.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 27 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 58 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of the PML, MMAP, ANP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN and ANP were present, while the chief whips of the MQM, PML, PMLF, MMAP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 105 (31%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 79 (23%) Members at the end of the sitting.
- Nine Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as six out of 10 minority Members were present during the 3rd sitting.
- The House took a 31-minute break for prayers.
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 “payment of tax by 35% Traders and recovery of only 700 million rupees from 36 Posh Markets. The CAN was directed to the Ministry of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development. This CAN was moved by four Members of the PPPP and one Member of the ANP.
- The second CAN on the Orders of the Day was regarding the “rapid increase in the number of polio cases and ineffectiveness of polio vaccines” which was directed to the Ministry of Health. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 23 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only nine were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- A total of 24 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the third sitting.
- There were three Bills on the Orders of the Day. The Pakistan Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, 2011 was introduced, while the Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill, 2009 was deferred. The third bill on the agenda was not taken up by the House, as the prime mover (Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs) was not present.
- One Standing Committee Report regarding the Islamabad Consumers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2007 was presented to the House.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 22 Points of Order were raised, consuming 33 (17%) minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There was one admitted Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day regarding the “increase in the prices of items of daily use”, which was not debated upon during the course of the sitting.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the third sitting.
- 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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