ISLAMABAD, September 29, 2010: The National Assembly met for almost four hours in the eighth sitting of the 25th session. The sitting started 35 minutes late against the stipulated time.
The long stretched sitting was marked was low attendance of members with only 34 members present on the onset and only 37 members present when the sitting was adjourned. There were two bills on the Orders of the Day. However, the House did not take up any of these.
A total of nine members spoke on the admitted Adjournment Motion regarding the “non-release of Dr. Afia Siddiqui from prison in the United States of America. The debate took up almost 36% of the sitting time. Eleven Point of Orders were raised during the sitting, which consumed 23% of the time.
Only the Parliamentary Leaders of PML and MMAP were present to attend the proceedings, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties remained absent. The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 57 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 55 minutes. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 55 minutes.
- The eighth sitting started at 1035 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 35 minutes.
- The Speaker presided over the sitting for 41 minutes. A Member of Panel of Chairpersons chaired the sitting for 72 minutes, while the remaining 122 minutes were chaired by the Deputy Speaker
- The Prime Minister was present for 57 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition attended the sitting for 55 minutes.
- Only the Parliamentary Leaders of PML and MMAP were present, while the leaders of PPPS, ANP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 34 (10%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 37 (11%) members at the end of the sitting.
- Ten members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as five out of 10 minority members were present during the 8thsitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took only one CAN, regarding “confiscation of 800 containers of rice in Kenya exported by Pakistan”. The CAN was directed to the Ministry of Commerce and was moved by five members of PMLN.
- A total of 17 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only eight were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- A total of 27 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the eighth sitting
- There were two bills [The Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Bill, 2010] and [The Degree Awarding Status to Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, Karachi Bill, 2010] on the Orders of the Day], which were not taken up by the House.
- Four reports from the Standing Committees were presented in the National Assembly.
Order and institutionalization
- 11 Points of Order were raised, consuming 53 minutes of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- The House debated on the admitted Adjournment Motion regarding “non-release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from prison in the USA” for 85 minutes. A total of nine members spoke on the issue, which included four members of PMLN, two members of PPPP and one member each of PML and MQM. An independent member also took part in the discussions. The debate was wrapped up by the Federal Minister for Interior.
- An adjournment motion was moved by members of PMLN on the “attacks by the NATO forces inside the Pakistani territory”. The debate on the issue will likely to start from the ninth sitting.
- 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 no instance of protest, walkout or boycott during the 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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