ISLAMABAD, June 28, 2013: The Chief Minister attended all the seven sittings of the 10th Balochistan Assembly’s first budget session which was prorogued on Friday, says a FAFEN preliminary report based on the direct observation of the provincial legislature’s proceedings.
The budget session from June 20 to June 28, 2013 met for 19 hours and nine minutes as on average each of the seven sittings lasted two hours and 42 minutes. Similarly each sitting on average started 15 minutes behind schedule. Two breaks consuming two hours and 23 minutes were taken during the proceedings.
As many as 41 members took part in the debate on the finance bill which lasted 771 minutes – 67% of the proceedings. Twelve PkMAP members shared their views on the budget, followed by nine NP, seven JUIF, six PMLN, four PML and a single member each of ANP, JQM and MWMP also spoke during the budget debate. Of the 41 members who took part in the budget debate, six were females – three PMLN, one NP and two women legislators belonged to PkMAP.
The Speaker presided over 81% (13 hours and 31 minutes) of the proceedings while the Deputy Speaker chaired 1% while the remaining time (18%) was chaired by the members of the Panel of the Chairpersons.
The Chief Minister remained present in the house during the entire session while his counterpart -the Leader of the Opposition – attended six sittings.
According to rule 116 of the Rules of Procedures of the Balochistan Assembly, the provincial Minister for Finance presents the annual budget before the house. As the provincial cabinet had not been formed by June 20, 2013, the Chief Minister presented the budget.
As the Balochistan Assembly does not make attendance record of the MPAs public, the FAFEN conducts a headcount of the members at the beginning, the end, and at the time when maximum attendance is observed. Thirty five MPAs (57% of the total current membership), on average, were present at the start and the end of a sitting while, a maximum of 38 MPAs (61%) were documented at the time of maximum attendance.
Apart from passing the finance bill, the house also passed the Balochistan Services Tribunal Bill 2013. The finance bill was passed with the approval of 51 demands for grants as no cut motions were moved.
The services tribunal bill seeks to amend the Balochistan Service Tribunals Act 1974, introducing new sections to give the tribunal’s chairman “authority for all the administrative, disciplinary and financial matters of the Balochistan Service Tribunal”. It also repeals the Balochistan Service Tribunals (Amendment) Ordinance 2013 (Balochistan Ordinance No. III 2013).
The members of JUIF and NP staged a 51-minute walkout to protest over less allocation for development funds than the non-development funds.
About FAFEN: FAFEN is a network of 42 civil society organizations working to foster democratic accountability in Pakistan. It is governed by Trust for Democratic Education and Accountability.
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