ISLAMABAD, May 7, 2014: Lawmakers adopted five resolutions, debated four adjournment motions and took up only two starred questions on the floor during the ninth session of the Balochistan Assembly, says the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its preliminary report based on direct observation of the House.
Tabled by JUI-F, one of the adopted resolutions condemned the terrorist attack on journalist and Geo TV anchor, Hamid Mir. Jointly tabled by members of PML-N and NP, another adopted resolution requested transparent investigation of the attack on Hamid Mir and also condemned criticism on national and defence institutions in the context of the said attack. The other resolutions which were adopted by the House raised the issues of alarming depletion of the water table in Quetta, lack of multiple entry routes to Punjab from Balochistan and non-payment of scholarship to the students of Balochistan studying in other provinces under Prime Minister Scholarship Program.
The two resolutions which were not adopted called for the division of Quetta city into more than one tehsil to ease administrative difficulties due to heavy population, and continuing increase in electricity prices. Both of these were tabled by members of the JUI-F. Four committee reports were also presented before the House during the session.
- A pre-budget debate for the fiscal year of 2014-15 was held in the session. Sixteen legislators – all male – shared their views in the pre-budget debate for five hours and 25 minutes consuming more than one-fourth (26%) of the total session time. Seven PkMAP legislators took part in the debate, followed by members of NP (four), PML-N (two) and one each of ANP, JUI-F and PML.
The House debated all four adjournment motions moved in the session. All the motions were moved by male legislators. Members of NP, ANP and PML-N tabled one motion each whereas one motion was jointly moved by PkMAP and NP legislators. One of the motions on the stoppage in release of funds of more than 30 districts of Balochistan was debated in the fifth sitting. All three other motions were about the deteriorating law and order condition in the province. Nineteen MPAs – six of the PML-N, four each of the JUI-F, PkMAP and NP, and one of the ANP – discussed the law and order condition in the province for two hours.
There were 22 starred questions on the agenda, of which only two were taken up on the floor of the house – however, written responses were given to 19 of these questions. Of the 22 questions, 10 were submitted to Education Ministry, followed by Ministries of Agriculture and Cooperatives; Communication and Works; Health; and Revenue Excise; which received two questions each. Labour and Manpower; Local Government; and Prisons and Transport; each received one question. Six members – three (JUI-F), two (BNP), one (ANP) – submitted all the questions. The members did not ask any supplementary questions.
In the fifth sitting, members of NP and PkMAP jointly walked out from the House for one hour and nine minutes when questions were raised about the legality of judicial commission formulated to probe the attack on senior journalist Hamid Mir.
A total of 17 legislators spoke on 34 points of orders, consuming 8% of the total session’s time.
The six sitting session commenced on April 22, 2014 and prorogued on May 2, 2014 with an average sitting time of two hours and 31 minutes. On average, each sitting started 49 minutes behind schedule time with 31 members at the outset and 14 at the time of adjournment. Two minority members attended each sitting on average. Due to low attendance, quorum was pointed out three times in the session. At one occasion, the sitting was adjourned while on the other two instances of pointing of quorum, sittings were continued with the consent of the Chair.
The Speaker chaired 9% of session’s time, the Deputy Speaker (58%) and the Panel of Chairpersons presided 21% of the session’s proceedings. The remaining 12% was consumed in three prayer breaks. The Chief Minister attended the first sitting of the session, remaining there for 9% of session’s time while the Leader of Opposition was present in three sittings – 42% of the session’s time.
Parliamentary leaders of the PkMAP, ANP and PML each attended five of the six sittings, JUI-F (three), NP (two), and MWM (one). Parliamentary leaders of PML-N, BNP, BNP-A and Independent members did not attend the session.
The Preliminary Report is based on direct observation of Balochistan Assembly proceedings conducted by Center for Peace and Development (CPD), a Member organization of FAFEN
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