ISLAMABAD, January 27, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and eight minutes during the 4th sitting of the ongoing 28th session. The sitting was marked by low Members’ attendance, with only 46 Members present at the outset and 39 present when the sitting was adjourned. The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but it was not pointed out by any of the Members.
National Assembly unanimously passed the Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill, 2009 and the Recognition and Enforcement (Arbitration Agreements and Foreign Arbitral Awards) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
A total of seven Members spoke on the admitted Adjournment Motion, regarding increase in the prices of daily use items for 67 minutes.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 44 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM and PPPS were present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not attend the sitting’s proceedings. Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and eight minutes.
- The fourth sitting started at 1042 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 42 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for 82 minutes, while the remaining time was presided over by two Members of Panel of Chairpersons. The Deputy Speaker was not present.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 44 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary Leader of the MQM and PPPS were present, while the leaders of ANP, MMAP, PML, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP and PMLN were present, while the chief whips of PML, ANP, MMAP, MQM, PMLF, PPPS, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 46 (13%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 39 (11%) Members at the end of the sitting.
- A total of three Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as six out of 10 minority Members were present during the 4th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both the CANs.
- The first CAN was regarding the “poor condition of Super Highway passing through Sindh”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Communications and was moved by five Members of the PPPP.
- The second CAN on the Orders of the Day was regarding the “irregularities in the purchase of land worth Rs. 750 million for the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Islamabad” which was directed to the Ministry of Education. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 21 questions were listed to be taken up during the Question Hour. However, only seven were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 27 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the fourth sitting.
- National Assembly unanimously passed the Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill, 2009 and the Recognition and Enforcement (Arbitration Agreements and Foreign Arbitral Awards) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
- One Standing Committee report regarding the National Commission for Human Rights Bill, 2008 was presented to the House.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of nine Points of Order were raised, consuming 94 minutes (12% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted the Speaker’s formal ruling.
- The House debated on the admitted Adjournment Motion regarding “increase in the prices of items of daily use” for 67 minutes. A total of seven Members spoke on the issue, which included four Members of the PMLN and one Member each of the PPPP, PML and MQM.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the fourth 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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