ISLAMABAD, April 14, 2011: The National Assembly met for two hours and 20 minutes during the 4th sitting of the ongoing 30th session. Like previous sittings of the session, the issue of lack of quorum persisted during this sitting as well. The quorum was lacking at various stages of the sitting, however, was not raised by any of the Members. As many as 56 Members were observed to be present at the outset of the sitting, while only 20 Members were present when the sitting was adjourned.
The National Assembly did not take up the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011 during the course of the sitting
A total of five Members spoke on the Presidential Address for 101 minutes.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 34 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 60 minutes. The parliamentary party of PMLN staged a walk out during the sitting against ‘drone attacks’. The PMLN Members walked out of sitting at 1328 hours and did not return for the remaining proceedings of the day.
The Parliamentary Leaders of the PML, ANP, NPP 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 20 minutes.
- The fourth sitting started at 1045 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 45 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the course of the sitting. The entire sitting time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 34 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 60 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leader of the PML, ANP, NPP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of MMAP, MQM, PMLF and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN and PMLF were present, while the chief whips of the PML, MQM, MMAP and ANP were absent.
- A total of 56 (16%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 20 (6%) Members at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 157 Members (46%) was observed at one point of the sitting.
- A total of seven Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as five 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 “rapid increase in number of hoardings in green areas and parks of Islamabad, damaging their beauty”. This CAN was directed to the Cabinet Secretariat and was moved by five Members of the PPPP.
- The other CAN was regarding the “illegal allotment of plots to the officers of Ministry of Minorities Affairs and others by Chairman Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB)” which was directed to the Ministry of Minorities Affairs. This CAN was moved by three Minority Members.
- A total of 27 questions were listed to be taken up during the Question Hour. However, only 12 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
A total of 27 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the fourth sitting.
- The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011 was not taken up during the course of the sitting.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of four Points of Order were raised, consuming 10 minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- The National Assembly debated on the Presidential Address for a total of 101 minutes. As many as five Members spoke on the President’s speech, which included two Members of the PPPP, and one Member each of the PMLN, MQM and PPPS
- Members of the PMLN staged a walkout against ‘no actions or policies being devised by the Government for the putting a halt to Drone Attacks’. The PMLN Members walked out of the House at 1328 hours and did not return till the adjournment of 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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