ISLAMABAD, September 15, 2012: The parliamentary business appearing on the Orders of the Day in the National Assembly should be accomplished during each sitting or at least during a session, according to one of the recommendations of Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) on improving the performance of the parliament.
In response to Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi’s statement published in a section of the press, FAFEN reiterates the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker’s offices ensure that agenda for a single sitting should not be ambitiously set, and can be taken up within a single sitting.
The Deputy Speaker, who is one of the active legislators, did not agree with the findings of FAFEN report on the National Assembly’s 45th session, which said the Lower House left 79% of the agenda items on the Orders of the Day unaddressed.
The Deputy Speaker chaired six sittings during the session for 670 minutes or 53% of the session time.
The National Assembly business is transacted, as per rule 57 of the rules of procedures, in the order in which it appears on the Orders of the Day, unless the Speaker directs otherwise.
FAFEN directly observes the proceedings and collects primary data through a standardized checklist based on the rules of procedure and conduct of business. This observation aims to provide neutral and verified information about the parliamentary performance of the elected representatives, firmly believing that it fosters a close engagement of legislators with their constituents.
According to the official documents – Orders of the Day – posted on the National Assembly’s website (www.na.gov.pk), out of the 111 agenda items, 23 were taken up by the House during the 45th session. The report provides a detailed look into the agenda for every sitting of the session, issues and interventions taken up in the House and those which were left unaddressed (see Annexure I). During the second and the seventh sittings, which were private members’ day (on Tuesdays in the National Assembly), out of the 70 agenda items on the Orders of the Day, four were taken up.
It may also be pointed out that the Points of Order are not listed of the Orders of the Day. According to the regulatory framework of the National Assembly (see article 17 of the rules of procedure, http://www.na.gov.pk/en/report_detail.php?id=9), a Point of Order may be raised for the “interpretation or enforcement of the rules or such Articles as regulate the business of the Assembly and shall raise a question which is within cognizance of the Speaker.”
A total of 138 Points of Order were raised which consumed 28% (358 out of total 1,257 minutes) of the session time. None of the points of order attracted the chair’s formal ruling. Unless the chair gives a formal ruling on a Point of Order, it does not lead to any assembly output.
|Sitting No.||Total Agenda Items||Agenda Items Taken Up||Agenda Items Not Taken Up||Agenda Items Taken Up (%age)|
 According to Rule 57: Orders of the Day.- (1) The Secretary shall prepare the Orders of the Day and make a copy thereof available for the use of every member and any other person entitled under the Constitution to speak or otherwise take part in the proceedings of the Assembly.
(2) Except as otherwise provided by these rules,- (a) the business for the day shall be transacted in the order in which it appears in the Orders of the Day; (b) business not included in the Orders of the Day shall not be transacted at any sitting without the consent of the Speaker; and (c) no business without the consent of the Speaker requiring notice shall be set down for a day earlier than the day following the day on which the period of the notice necessary for that class of business expires. (3) Unless the Speaker otherwise directs, not more than five resolutions excluding any resolution moved on, and outstanding from a previous day shall be set down in the Orders of the Day for any day on which private members’ business has precedence.
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