Attendance remains low in the 12th sitting of the Budget Session

ISLAMABAD, June 17, 2010: National Assembly met for a total of 5 hours and 20 minutes in the twelfth sitting with only nine percent members present at the outset and eight percent present when the sitting was adjourned. As many as 29 members took 312 minutes to speak on the budgetary proposals, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on National Assembly proceedings.

The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The National Assembly met for 05 hours and 20 minutes.
  • The twelfth sitting started at 1110 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1100 hours. The House proceedings started late by 10 minutes.
  • The Speaker chaired the sitting for 45 minutes, while the Deputy Speaker presided over the sitting for 210 minutes. The remaining 65 minutes were chaired by Mr. Abdul Qadir Patel (Member of Panel of Chairpersons).
  • The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 32 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the 12th sitting.
  • Parliamentary Leaders of PPPS and PMLF were present, while the leaders of PML, MQM, ANP, NPP, MMAP and BNPA did not attend the sitting.
  • The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PMLF and PPPS were present, while those of PML, ANP, MQM, MMAP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
  • As many as five members appealed for leave to be absent from 12th sitting.
  • 30 (9%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 26 (8%) members were present when the sitting was adjourned.
  • All minority members were present during the twelfth sitting.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • As many as 29 members spoke on the budgetary proposals presented during the third sitting.
  • As many as 12 members of PPPP spoke for a total of 132 minutes. Similar number of members of PMLN took 121 minutes to speak on the proposed budget. Three PML members took 43 minutes, while two MQM members took 16 minutes to give their opinion on budgetary proposals.
  •  The Minister for Finance and Revenue attended the sitting for 25 minutes.

Order and institutionalization

  • There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
  • The sitting witnessed two instances of token walkouts. On the first occasion members of the PML walked out in protest against the Speaker ‘giving inadequate time’ to one of their colleagues. The walkout lasted five minutes. On the second occasion, a minority member of the PMLN walked out in protest against the “non-protection to minorities and allocating low funds for them”. This walkout lasted 5 minutes as well.


  • Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and others.
  • Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.

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