ISLAMABAD, October 3, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 22 minutes during the first sitting of the 35th session on Monday, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the National Assembly Proceedings.
The House suspended the regular agenda to debate on the load shedding of electricity and price hike of petroleum products. A total of five Members spoke on the issue for 140 minutes.
The sitting witnessed low attendance of Members was observed, with 90 Members present at the outset and 110 present when the sitting was adjourned.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 87 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained present for 82 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of other 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 22 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1718 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 78 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 87 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 82 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of MQM and PPPS were present, while the leaders of PML, ANP, MMAP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP and PMLF were present, while those of MQM, MMAP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The House took a 27-minute break for prayers.
- A total of 90 (26%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 110 (32%) Members at the end of the sitting.
- Maximum presence of 182 Members (53%) was observed at one point of the sitting, when the Prime Minister was present.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House did not take up any of the CANs.
- The House suspended the regular proceedings to debate on the load shedding of electricity and price hike in petroleum products.
- A total of five Members, including the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Federal Minister for Water and Power spoke on the issue for 140 minutes.
- A total of three bills appeared on the Orders of the Day. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2011 was introduced during the sitting, while the remaining two bills were not taken up by the House.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of nine Points of Order were raised, which consumed 21 minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised attracted the chair’s formal ruling.
- The sitting witnessed a walkout by Members of the PMLN against the load shedding of electricity and price hike of petroleum products. The walkout lasted five 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 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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