ISLAMABAD, December 15, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 28 minutes during the first sitting of the 37th session on Thursday, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the National Assembly Proceedings.
The sitting was marked by low attendance of Members, with only 52 Legislators present at the outset and 68 present when the sitting was adjourned. The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, the lack of it was not pointed out by any of the Parliamentarians.
A total of 14 Points of Order were raised, which consumed 63% of sitting time. None of these Points of Orders attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 27 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition was present for 153 minutes. The parliamentary leaders of the ANP, MQM, BNPA and NPP attended the proceedings.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 28 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1720 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 20 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting. The Deputy Speaker was also present during the sitting.
- The Prime Minister was present for 27 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition attended the proceedings for 153 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the ANP, MQM, BNPA and NPP were the only ones present, while the leaders of the MMAP, PPPS, PML and PMLF were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the MMAP, ANP, PML, MQM, PMLN and PPPP were present, while PMLF’s chief whip was absent.
- A total of 52 (15%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 68 (20%) Members at the end of the sitting.
- A maximum of 176 (52%) Members were observed to be present at one point of the sitting.
- A total of nine Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- Nine minority Members were present during the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The House did not take up any of the two Calling Attention Notices which appeared on the Orders of the Day.
- A total of 19 questions were listed to be taken up during the Question Hour. However, only seven questions were put up and responded by the relevant ministries.
- A total of 15 supplementary questions were raised in the House during the sitting
- Two Bills – the National Commission for Human Rights Bill, 2011 and the Airports Security Force (Amendment) Bill, 2011 – were not taken up by the House.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 14 Points of Order were raised, consuming 132 minutes (63%) of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
- There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts during the sitting.
- A PMLN Member raised a Question of Privilege (QoP) which was referred to the Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges. The House spoke on the QoP for 15 minutes.
- Orders of the Day were available to Legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the Members.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a member organization of FAFEN
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