Low Attendance, MQM Boycott Marks 4th Sitting of NA
ISLAMABAD, November 04, 2010: The National Assembly met for three hours and 14 minutes in the fourth sitting of the 26th session. The sitting started 49 minutes late against the stipulated time of 1000 hours. The sitting witnessed low attendance of members with only 55 members present at the outset. However, the attendance of members was relatively better at the end, with 127 members present.
The issue of lack of Quorum persisted during the fourth sitting and was not pointed out by any member. There were three bills on the Orders of the Day that were taken up and subsequently passed by the National Assembly.
Members of the MQM continued their boycott during the fourth sitting. There was another instance of a demonstration by members of the PML during the proceedings. However, the walkout by the PML members lasted nine minutes.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 83 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 63 minutes. Only the Parliamentary Leaders of the PPPS and PML were present, while the leaders of other Parliamentary Parties did not show up.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 14 minutes.
- The fourth sitting started at 1049 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 49 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the sitting. The entire sitting was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 83 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 63 minutes.
- Only the Parliamentary Leaders of the PML and PPPS were present, while the leaders of MMAP, ANP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MMAP and ANP were present, while the chief whips of MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 55 (16%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 127 (35%) members were present at the end of the sitting.
- Twelve members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of nine out of 10 minority members were present during the 4th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The taken up CAN was regarding “non-completion of construction work on Hasan Abdal-Mansehra Express Way, started two years ago”. The CAN was directed to the Ministry of Communication and was moved by two members each of the PMLN and PML.
- A total of 23 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 12 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 29 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the fourth sitting.
- There were three bills [‘The Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design Bill, 2009’, ‘The State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2010’ and ‘The Industrial Development Bank of Pakistan (Re-organization and Conversion) Bill, 2009’] on the Orders of the Day. The National Assembly unanimously passed all of them during the course of the sitting.
- A Standing Committee [Environment] Report was presented during the sitting, regarding ‘The Pakistan Trade Control of Wild Fauna and Flora Bill, 2010’.
Order and Institutionalization
- Ten Points of Order were raised, consuming 76 minutes (39% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There was one Motion Under Rule 259 on the Orders of the Day regarding the “Human Rights violations in the Occupied Kashmir”, which was not taken up for discussion.
- There was one Adjournment Motion raised during the proceedings by members of the PMLN and PML regarding the “oil price hike”. The debate on the motion is likely to start tomorrow.
- Members of PML staged a walkout during the proceedings. They expressed their reservations over the issue that several of their adjournment motions were not taken up by the House. The walkout lasted nine minutes. Members of MQM continued their boycott of session’s proceedings during the course of the fourth sitting.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the members of the National Assembly.
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