FAFEN Parliament Monitor Provincial Assembly of Punjab 43rd Session Report

ISLAMABAD, Jan 8, 2013: The 43rd session of the Punjab Assembly witnessed passage of 14 treasury-backed bills with three of them seeking to establish universities for women, says a preliminary report by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) on Tuesday.

The session’s 14 sittings from 13 December 2012 to 7 January 2013 also witnessed delays and low members’ attendance as 57% of the agenda was left unaddressed. On average each sitting lasted two hours and 13 minutes. Similarly, on average each sitting started two hours and 18 minutes behind schedule.

Apart from passing the Punjab Protection against the Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill 2012, the house passed the Government College Women University, Faisalabad Bill 2012, the Government College Women University, Sialkot Bill 2012, the Government College Women University, Bahawalpur Bill 2012 to set up universities for women.

Additionally six treasury bills – the Punjab Public Service Commission (Second Amendment) Bill 2012, the Punjab Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill 2012 ,the Lahore Garrison University Bill 2012, the Punjab Local Government (Fifth Amendment) Bill 2012, the Defence Housing Authority Rawalpindi Bill 2013, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Engineering and Technology Multan Bill 2013 – were introduced and sent to the relevant Standing Committees.

Members’ attendance remained low – on average 19 were present at the beginning, 32 at the adjournment and a maximum 68 MNAs at any one point during the sitting. Three of ten minority members attended the session.

The Chief Minister did not attend the entire session, whereas the Leader of the Opposition attended a single sitting. The Speaker chaired 72% of the proceedings as the rest of the session was presided over by Deputy Speaker 18% and the Panel of Chairpersons 6%.

The parliamentary leader of the MMAP attended six sittings, followed by PML four, PMLF three and PMLZ party leader attended a single sitting.

The house did not take up 57 % of the agenda (59 of 103 items) appearing on the orders of the day. Twenty six adjournment motions, 14 resolutions, five calling attention notices, and four Standing Committee reports remained unaddressed during the session. Eight items appearing on the supplementary agenda, including seven reports and a resolution, were taken up by the house.

During the session quorum was pointed out five times, leading to adjournment of three sittings. On two occasions after the ringing of the bells the sittings resumed as quorum was found complete.

During the 8th and 12th sittings the question hour was not held. Out of 348 questions tabled by legislators, 122 were taken up. Additionally 266 supplementary questions were asked.

Seven resolutions were adopted during the session. The house paid tributes to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on her fifth death anniversary. It condemned the killing of Khyber Pakthunkhwa’s senior minister in a suicide attack, attacks on polio health workers, anti-democratic forces and the PTI chief’s remarks on the selection of women parliamentarians along with the resolutions on pre-marriage thalassemia tests and fixed electricity rates for peasants.

The murder of a citizen in a police encounter in Lahore and robberies in different areas, were taken up for debate through four calling attention notices. The house took up three adjournment motions to debate the issues of students of a medical college not getting approval by PMDC, closure of roads in Lahore, and unavailability of irrigation water to peasants in Pakpattan.

The session witnessed two 55-minute walkouts by a single member of MMAP and PPPP. An MMAP legislator walked out after he was not granted permission to present resolution on the construction of Kalabagh Dam and a PPPP member walked out when the Speaker did not allow him to speak on a point of order.

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