ISLAMABAD, June 3, 2010: The 23rd Session of the National Assembly started here on June 3, 2010, with 112 members present at the outset and 42 members present at the end. The Quorum was lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, the lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the legislators, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on First Sitting of 23rd Session of the National Assembly Proceedings.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 04 hours and 41minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1758 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 58 minutes.
- The House took a break of 50 minutes on the account of prayers.
- The Speaker of the House chaired the sitting for 147 minutes, while Mr. Nawab Yousaf Talpur (Panel of Chairpersons) chaired the remaining 84 minutes.
- The Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- Parliamentary leaders of PML, MQM, PPPS and PMLF were present while the leaders of ANP, NPP, MMAP, and BNPA were absent
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP, PPPS and PMLF were present, while the chief whips of MQM, MMAP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- Ten members appealed for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of 112 members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 42 members at the end of the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. Both the CANs were taken up by the House.
- The first Calling Attention Notice taken up by the House was directed to the Ministry of Tourism regarding ‘privatization of resorts, hotels and motels in Northern Areas’ .This CAN was raised by 4 PMLN members.
- The other CAN, taken up by the House was directed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding ‘Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla carrying relief goods for the Palestinians’. This was raised by 5 PMLN members.
- A total of 20 questions were listed on the agenda to be taken up during the Question Hour. However, only 11 questions were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- There were three bills on the Orders of the Day which were not taken up by the House.
- There were two resolutions introduced during the course of the sitting on the “Israeli Attacks on the Freedom Flotilla” and the “Attacks on minorities in Lahore” which were taken up by the House.
Order and institutionalization
- 20 Points of Order was raised, taking up 71 minutes of the House proceedings. However, it didn’t require Speaker’s ruling.
- There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
- There was one instance of a token walkout by a member of PPPP on the comments made by Mr. Akram Sheikh. The walkout lasted for 5 minutes
- Two PPPP members took oath during the course of the sitting.
- Orders of the Day was 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 of the National Assembly.
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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