Low Attendance, Walkouts Mark 28th Session of Balochistan Assembly
The Balochistan Assembly adopted nine resolutions, witnessed as many walkouts amid low attendance during its 28th session consuming almost 69% of the session’s time, says Free and Fair Election Network in its Session Report based on direct observation of the Provincial Assembly’s proceedings.
The session, consisting of seven sittings, started on May 5 and ended on May 20, 2016. On average, each sitting began 56 minutes behind the schedule while the House met for 13 hours and 29 minutes. The longest sitting of two hours and 58 minutes was witnessed on May 17, 2016 while the shortest sitting lasted an hour and five minutes on May 12, 2016.
The Speaker attended all seven sittings and chaired 86 percent of the session’s time while a Member of Panel of Chairpersons presided over the remaining 14 percent of the Session. The post of Deputy Speaker is lying vacant since December 23, 2015. The Chief Minister (Leader of the House) attended three sittings and participated in 33% of the session’s proceedings while the Leader of the Opposition was present in five sittings and attended 25% of the proceedings’ time.
The Parliamentary leader of PkMAP attended six sittings followed by ANP and NP (five each), PML (4) and MWM (1). However, Leader of BNP did not attend any of the sittings during the entire Session.
The 28th Session of the Provincial Assembly was marked by low attendance of lawmakers as on average 21 (32%) members remained present during the start and 19 (30%) at the end of each sitting. One minority member, on average, attended each sitting of the Session, as well.
The House adopted nine resolutions regarding construction of roads from Zhob to Mughal Kot, arranging training seminars on drip irrigation process, constructing western route of roads from Zoab Mir Ali Khail to Kajur Kach, considering western route of CPEC, administering the matters of pension and benefits of the workers through EOBI with assistance of the Federal Government, providing funds to complete various schemes, connecting Balochistan with Punjab through shortest possible route of M-8 Motorway, installing TV boosters in remote areas and appointing female photographers at NADRA centers in the province.
Two other resolutions appearing on the agenda in various sittings were not considered by the House which were relating to resuming President and Prime Minister Scholarship programs for poor students and enhancing quota of students from Balochistan in educational institutions of Punjab.
All 20 starred questions on the agenda were deferred due to the absence of relevant movers or ministers.
The House took up the Privilege Motion of a JUI-F lawmaker against the misbehavior of SDO Quetta and referred it to the relevant committee. The Chair admitted an Adjournment Motion to discuss the CPEC route while another Motion regarding development of education in the province was discussed by the lawmakers.
The Opposition members walked out of the House in the last six sittings against the corruption scandal and demanded resignation of the members of former Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch’s cabinet from the incumbent cabinet for the sake of transparency. The Opposition’s walkout spanned nearly 69% (558 minutes) of the session’s time.
Lawmakers raised 50 Points of Order that consumed 219 minutes of the Session’s time. A JUI-F lawmaker pointed out the quorum during the 6th sitting following which the Speaker ordered the bell to be rung for five minutes. However, the quorum fell short upon recounting that led to the adjournment of the sitting.
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