Islamabad, March 17, 2013: The last session of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly was marked by low interest of MPAs, passage of ten treasury-backed bills amid lack of quorum and late starts, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its preliminary report based on the direct observation of the session.
Thirty bills – 17 treasury and 13 private members’ bills – appeared on the agenda. Of them 10 were passed while five bills were introduced and sent to standing committees. The passed bills included the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Maternity Benefit Bill 2013, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minimum Wages Bill 2013, and other bills about employment and industries.
Like previous sessions, the agenda for private members’ days was ambitiously set which was not possible to take up during the span of a single sitting. The house left 13 private members’ bills unaddressed. These bills were about education, child welfare and health, labor rights, and women trafficking.
The session met for four hours and 44 minutes from March 04-12, with each sitting, on average, meeting for an hour and 11 minutes and witnessing the delay of 56 minutes.
Members showed less interest in the proceedings. Currently, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly has a strength of 123. FAFEN observed, on average, 26 legislators were present at the outset and 34 at the adjournment of each sitting. Since the provincial assembly does not make the attendance record of MPAs public, FAFEN observers conduct a head count at the start and end of each sitting. The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the MPAs.
The Speaker chaired the entire session. The Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition attended one sitting each. The PPPP and PML parliamentary party leaders attended three sittings each while those of PMLF, PPPS and PMLN attended one single sitting each.
Eleven out of 14 starred questions (requiring oral replies) were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, seven supplementary questions were asked by members.
An MMAP legislator raised a question of personal privilege (QoP) to report misbehavior of an assistant political agent in Kuram Agency. The QoP was referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure & Conduct of Business Rules, Privileges & Implementation of Government Assurances.
The audit report of 24 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was presented before the house. Similarly, the standing committee chairperson of secondary and elementary education presented the report on a bill about education.
The house witnessed two walkouts during the session. An ANP member staged a four-minute walkout over the loss of life and property of minorities in Lahore .On another instances, a PPPP member staged a token walkout as he was not give the floor to speak.
About FAFEN: FAFEN, a coalition of 42 civil society organizations, started the direct observation of the National Assembly proceedings in 2008, using a methodology based the rules of the parliamentary business. The direct observation was extended to the proceedings of Senate and the provincial assemblies in 2011.
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