Comparative Legislative Report of 13th and 14th National Assembly during 28 Sessions

The fourteenth National Assembly has passed 63 bills during 28 sessions held since its inauguration on June 3, 2013, showing slightly improved legislative performance as compared to the previous National Assembly which passed 60 bills during its first 28 sessions. Despite being in a numerical minority in the Upper House of the Parliament, the incumbents have been able to enact 32 of these bills as acts after their approval from the Senate.

While quantitative yardstick may not be sufficient to assess the legislative performance of the current government, the diversity of legislative areas and scope provide a detailed understanding of the government’s priorities and preferences.  The incumbents appear to be more focused on economy as compared to the previous government having a more balanced legislative approach of providing legal scaffolding to human rights, public and labour welfare and other areas of public interest in addition to economy-focused legislation.

The distinction to pass record number of Private Members’ bills, however, remains with the 13th National Assembly. It had given its consent to five Private Members’ bills during its first 28 sessions unlike the current assembly which has yet to approve any of 104 bills introduced so far. There were 122 bills introduced in the preceding Assembly during same period.

The economy, security and judicial matters topped the legislative priorities of the current National Assembly. More than one third (22) of the legislation passed by the 14th National Assembly is on the issues related to economy including three money bills, new taxes, duties and levies, tax amnesty scheme and banking-related matters. The current Assembly also passed 12 bills pertaining to judicial affairs and eight bills on the subject of national security that included a Constitutional amendment. Moreover, the Lower House passed five bills to provide for holding local government elections in the Islamabad Capital Territory and the Cantonment Areas. The Assembly also passed two bills seeking to update existing laws in the wake of the 18th Amendment, five bills relating to government departments and three bills for establishing new organizations. The other areas of legislation included reforms in the labour laws (two bills), education (two bills), child rights (one bill), agriculture (one bill), international trade (one bill) and online publication of patents (one bill).

Compared to security and economy-oriented legislation of the incumbent Assembly, the previous Assembly focused more on subjects related to women protection, labour reforms, education and social welfare. The 13th Assembly legislated on elections but ignored the issue of the local government. The Assembly passed two constitutional amendments during its first 28 sessions. These amendments dealt with the matters of devolution of power to the provinces and procedure for the appointment of judges in superior judiciary. The following table shows the number of bills passed by both National Assemblies.

Legislative Areas of 13th and 14th National Assemblies

Sr. No. Subjects

Number of Bills Passed

13th National Assembly

14th National Assembly
1 Economy 15 23
2 Institutional Reforms 14 7
3 Human Rights 9 1
4 Education 7 2
5 Labour 4 2
6 Judiciary 2 12
7 Elections 2 0
8 Governance 2 2
9 Social Welfare 1 0
10 Energy 1 0
11 Local Government 0 5
12 Health 1 0
14 Security 0 7
15 Agriculture 0 1
13 Constitutional Amendment 2 1
Total 60 63

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