FAFEN Parliament Monitor Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 17th Session Report

The lawmakers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly paid tribute to late Sardar Soran Singh during the 17th session. Singh was Special Assistant to the Chief Minister for Minorities Affairs who was assassinated last month. The session, on average, witnessed maximum attendance of 54 (44%) lawmakers, says the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN).

The session, comprising four sittings, started on April 29, 2016 and concluded on May 6, 2016. On average, each sitting started 24 minutes behind the schedule and lasted two hours and 13 minutes.

According to FAFEN’s observation, the lawmakers’ attendance remained low throughout the session – with an average of 38 (31%) members present at the start and 42 (34%) at the adjournment of each sitting. PPPP lawmaker pointed out quorum in the last sitting which led to its adjournment without addressing any of the agenda items. The Chief Minister attended three sittings (33% of the session time) while the Opposition Leader attended two out of four sittings for a total of 28% of the session’s time.

Nearly 54% of the session was chaired by the Speaker, who was present in three sittings. The Deputy Speaker was present in all four sittings and chaired 25% of the session while 21% of the session time was consumed in a break.  Among the parliamentary leaders in the House, PML-N leader attended four sittings followed by JI and ANP (3 each), QWP-S and PPPP (2 each).

The House passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Servants Retirement Benefits and Death Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and witnessed introduction of two bills including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2016. A bill – the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Censorship of Motion Pictures (Films, CDs, Videos, Stage Dramas and Shows) Bill, 2016 – was deferred while the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Foundation Bill, 2016 was not taken up by the House.

The House adopted a resolution demanding privileges for the family members of Sardar Soran Singh who was shot dead in Buner on April 22. Another resolution adopted by the House was about extension of the KP Universities (Amendment) Ordinance 2016 for a further period of 90 days. Fourteen lawmakers – PTI (6), JI, JUI-F, PPPP (two each), PML-N and QWP-S (one each) – took part in discussion regarding killing of Soran Singh which consumed 71 minutes.

Six Calling Attention Notices (CANs) were taken up by the House. These CANs were addressed to the departments of Home, Finance, Local Government, Health, Irrigation and Relief Rehabilitation & Settlement departments. A lawmaker belonging to PPPP staged walkout for 19 minutes when the Chair did not allow him to speak on a point of order.

Lawmakers raised five Points of Order which consumed 13 minutes of the session’s time. Out of 35 starred questions, only 19 (54%) were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries/departments. The legislators also raised 12 supplementary questions to gain further clarity on government’s responses

The House witnessed presentation of report of Standing Committee on Higher Education while the report of Standing Committee on Irrigation was adopted. Two reports of Standing Committees – one of Elementary and Secondary Education and another of Finance– were not taken up by the House. Another report of the Committee on the account of Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the year 2011-12 was also not taken up by the House.

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