ISLAMABAD, February 24, 2011: The National Assembly met for two hours and 50 minutes during the 4th sitting of the ongoing 29th session. The sitting was marked by low Members’ attendance, with only 52 Members present at the outset and 48 present when the sitting was adjourned.
The National Assembly unanimously passed the Federal Board of Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and The Banking Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
Most of the business itemized on the Orders of the Day was taken up by the House. Besides regular agenda the Member interrupted the proceedings to raise 11 Points of Order, which consumed 15% of the sitting time.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 52 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the PML 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 two hours and 50 minutes.
- The fourth sitting started at 1055 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 42 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the initial 45 minutes of the sitting, while a Member of Panel of Chairpersons presided over the remaining 125 minutes. The Deputy Speaker was not present during the course of the sitting.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 28 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary Leader of the PML and PPPS were present, while the leaders of ANP, MMAP, MQM, PMLF and NPP were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN, MQM, PML, PMLF, BNPA and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of the ANP and NPP were absent.
- A total of 52 (15%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 48 (14%) Members at the end of the sitting.
- A total of 10 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 “inordinate delay in completion of Karachi Mass Transit Project”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Finance, Revenue, Planning and Development, Economic Affairs and Statistics and was moved by five Members of the MQM.
- The other CAN was regarding the “strike of Teachers of Federal Government Schools” which was directed to the Ministry of Education. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 25 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 25 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the fourth sitting.
- The National Assembly unanimously passed the Federal Board of Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and The Banking Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 11 Points of Order were raised, consuming 25 minutes (15% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted the Speaker’s formal ruling.
- The Motion Under Rule 259 regarding the Law and Order situation prevailing in the country was not debated upon during the sitting.
- 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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