ISLAMABAD, June 18, 2012: On the last day of general discussion on the budget in the Punjab Assembly, only four legislators (one percent of the total membership) were present in the House at the start of the sitting and 100 when it was adjourned on Monday.
Speaking for 24 minutes the Minister for Finance concluded the budget debate. Additionally, 11 MPAs – six PPPP, three PMLN and two PML – spoke for 110 minutes (52% of sitting time) on the budget.
The Chief Minister attended the last 19 minutes of the sitting. During this session, this is the second sitting that he has attended. The Leader of the Opposition along with the parliamentary leaders of PML, PMLF and PMLZ were absent from the proceedings.
The Quorum, visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, was pointed by a PML Member. The Speaker ordered the bells to be rung for five minutes and after count the sitting was suspended for 15 minutes. It resumed after the Quorum was completed.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for three hours and 30 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1545 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 1500 hours. The proceedings started 45 minutes late.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting.
- The Chief Minister attended the last 19 minutes of the sitting while the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- Only the parliamentary leader of MMAP was present while the leaders of PMLF, PML and PMLZ were absent.
- Only four Members (1% of the total Membership of 369) were present at the start while 100 (27%) were there when the sitting was adjourned.
- Five minority Members were present.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The Minister for Finance concluded the budget debate. He spoke for 24 minutes. Additionally, 11 MPAs – six of PPPP, three PMLN and two PML – spoke for 110 minutes (52% of sitting time) on the budget.
- There was no other formal agenda on the Orders of the Day.
Order and Institutionalization
- No Points of Order consumed two minutes of sitting time.
- There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The Quorum, visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, was pointed by a PML Member. The Speaker ordered the bells to be rung for five minutes and after count the sitting was suspended for 15 minutes. The sitting resumed after the Quorum was completed.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN Development Organization, a member organization of FAFEN
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