– 68 out of 69 Women Parliamentarians Actively Took Part in Parliamentary Proceedings
– 12 Private Members’ Bills Sponsored by Women Members
ISLAMABAD, March 8, 2013: As the first parliamentary year of the incumbent 14th National Assembly is nearing to complete, women legislators performed impressively during nine House sessions asserting themselves in their lawmaking role, according to a Free and Fair Election Network report issued on the International Women’s Day.
Women parliamentarians played an active role in the lawmaking process by submitting 12 private member bills (six singly and six jointly with their colleagues). These bills focused of issues pertaining to governance, human rights, democracy and political development. Similarly, women parliamentarians, singly, submitted 20 resolutions, 14 calling attention notices, 1,383 questions, 22 motions under rule 259 and raised 64 points of order during the reporting period.
The on-floor performance of women parliamentarians is based upon FAFEN data (June, 2013 till March, 2014) gathered from direct observation of the NA proceedings.
Women members occupy one-fifth of the National Assembly’s seats. Currently, there are total of 340 members – 60 on reserved seats, eight through direct elections and one on minority reserved seat. As many as 68 women legislators actively participated in the parliamentary proceedings either by submitting agenda on Orders of the Day or taking part in the on-floor details.
Overall women tabled 12 legislations – six singly and six jointly collaborating with their male colleagues. Half of the resolutions tabled in the nine sessions (44 of total 88) were sponsored by women MNAs – 20 singly and 24 jointly. Women were active in conducting oversight of government ministries and departments by submitting 1,383 questions and 54 calling attention notices (CANs) on the agenda. To hold discussions on public issues, they submitted 25 motions (under Rule 259).
During the reporting period, women parliamentarians sponsored nearly half of the resolutions tabled in the assembly – 44 of total 88 – either singly or jointly with their male and female colleagues. Similarly, they submitted 25 motions under rule 259, of which 20 were submitted singly by female parliamentarians, two jointly with other female colleagues and three with male legislators of the assembly.
In terms of executive oversight, fourteen calling attention notices were solely submitted by women parliamentarians, while 40 notices were jointly tabled with their male counterparts. Similarly, during the Question Hour, female parliamentarian’s contributed a fair share in by submitting 40% (1,383) of the total questions – 3,428, in the House. Belum Husnain (129) and Nafeesa Inayatullah Khan Khattak (103) asked the most number of questions.
Besides their on-floor performance, women MPAs are also active in running government affairs with some ministerial portfolio assigned to women MNAs. State Ministry for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, and Information Technology are assigned to women MNAs. Similarly, the Parliamentary Secretaries for Interior and Narcotics Control and Petroleum and Natural Resources are women MNAs while the Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage is also being chaired by a woman.
Pakistan is ranked better in terms of women representation in prime legislative houses. According to a recent report by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) on the comparison of representation of women parliamentarians in lower houses in various countries, Pakistan ranks at 66 – a higher proportion than some of its regional neighbors such as Bangladesh (ranked 71), India (ranked 108) and Sri Lanka (ranked 130). Though, 18 women were directly elected in the last 13th National Assembly, it has decreased to eight for the current National Assembly. Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) has won five direct women seats and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) three.
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