Budget debate begins with 106 minutes speech by Opposition Leader

ISLAMABAD, June 8, 2010: The fourth sitting of the 23rd session of National Assembly started 50 minutes late. The Leader of Opposition addressed the house for 106 minutes, while in response the State Minister for Information and Broadcasting addressed for 32 minutes. The House witnessed two walkouts on the issues of the price hike of electricity, the prevailing conditions of the country and non implementation on Supreme Court orders, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the Fourth Sitting of the 23rd Session of the National Assembly proceedings.

The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The National Assembly met for 03 hour and 10 minutes.
  • The fourth sitting started at 1750 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 50 minutes.
  • The Speaker of the House chaired the sitting. The Deputy Speaker was also present during the proceedings for 25 minutes.
  • The House took a break of 33 minutes on the account of prayers
  • The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 46 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition was present for 117 minutes.
  • Parliamentary leaders of MMAP, MQM, PPPS and PMLF were present while the leaders of PML, ANP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
  • The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP, MQM, MMAP, PPPS and PMLF were present, while those of NPP and BNPA were absent.
  • A total of 122 (36%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 71 (21%) at the end of the sitting.
  • A total of 9 minority members were present during the fourth sitting.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • The Leader of Opposition initiated debate on the budget, addressing the House for 106 minutes.
  • In response the State Minister for Information and Broadcasting addressed the National Assembly for 32 minutes


  • The House debated on the Finance Bill, 2010 presented in the previous sitting.
  • The legislators were given more than 48 hours to prepare proposals.

Order and institutionalization

  • There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
  • There were two instances of walkouts during the course of the sitting. On the first occasion members of PMLN staged a token walkout for 5 minutes on the issue of “non implementation of Supreme Court orders” and “the prevailing situation in the country”. On the second occurrence members of MQM staged a walkout on the issue of “price hike on electricity in Karachi”. The walkout lasted for 38 minutes


  • Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and others.
  • Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
  • The copies of the budget speech were available to the concerned.

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