ISLAMABAD, May 12, 2011: The National Assembly met for two hours and 36 minutes during the last sitting of the 30th session. The sitting was marked by low Members’ attendance, with 72 Members present at the outset, while 108 were present when the sitting was adjourned
The last sitting was productive in terms of taking up of formal parliamentary agenda. All the listed items on the Orders of the Day were disposed off during the sitting.
The National Assembly unanimously passed the National Vocational and Technical Education Commission Bill, 2008 during the course of the sitting.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting’s proceedings for 24 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 35 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the NPP and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties remained absent.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and 36 minutes.
- The nineteenth sitting started at 1739 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 39 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 briefly for 24 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition attended the sitting for 35 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the NPP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of the PML, MMAP, ANP, MQM and PMLF were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN and MQM were present, while the chief whips of the PML, ANP, MMAP, PMLF and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 72 (21%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 108 (31%) Members were present at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 141 Members (41%) was observed at one point of the sitting, when the Prime Minister was present.
- As many as seven Members applied for leave of absence from the sitting.
- A total of five out of 10 minority Members were present during the 19th sitting.
- The House took a 29-minute break for prayers.
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 “delay in construction of Munda Dam”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Water and Power, and was moved by five Members of the National Assembly – one each of the PML and PPPS, and three Independents.
- The other CAN was regarding the “failure of the government to improve cottage industry” which was directed to the Ministry of Industries. This CAN was moved by four Members of the PPPP and one Member of the PMLN.
- A total of 18 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 11 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 23 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the nineteenth sitting.
- The National Assembly unanimously passed the National Vocational and Technical Education Commission Bill, 2008 during the course of the sitting.
- One Standing Committee report regarding the Private Power and Infrastructure Board Bill, 2010 was presented to the House.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of 11 Points of Order were raised, consuming 18 minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the nineteenth 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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