ISLAMABAD, April 11, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 55 minutes during the first sitting of the 30th Session on Monday, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the National Assembly Proceedings.
The first sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with 97 Members present at the outset and 83 present when the sitting was adjourned. The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, lack of it was not pointed out by any of the Members.
The Leader of the Opposition took 36 percent of the sitting time to speak on the Presidential Address.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 47 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained present for 129 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the ANP and PPPS were present, while the other leaders of parliamentary parties remained absent. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 55 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1710 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 70 minutes.
- The Speaker remained absent during the proceedings. The entire sitting time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 47 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 129 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of ANP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of PML, MQM, MMAP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of MQM, ANP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The House took a 44-minute break for prayers.
- A total of 97 (29%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 83 (24%) Members at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 183 Members (54%) was observed at one point of the sitting, when the Prime Minister was present.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The taken up CAN was regarding the “increase in the prices of fertilizer by Rs. 570/- per bag”, which was directed to the Ministry of Industries and Production. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 31 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 15 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 27 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the first sitting.
- There were three bills on the Orders of the Day. The Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2011 and the National Commission for Human Rights Bill, 2010 were taken up and sent to respective Standing Committees.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of five Points of Order were raised, consuming 13 minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- The Leader of the Opposition spoke on the Presidential Address for 85 minutes (36% of the total time).
- There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts during the sitting.
- 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 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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