Lawmakers Disinterest Marks Punjab Assembly’s 35th session

  • Four out of seven sittings adjourned due to lack of quorum
  • One Private Member’s Bill regarding Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran passed

ISLAMABAD, May 10, 2018: Lack of interest of provincial lawmakers in proceedings marked the 35th session of Punjab Assembly, which passed one private member’s as well as two government bills and witnessed the introduction of nine legislative proposals.

The session, comprising seven sittings, started on April 26, 2018 and concluded on May 7, 2018. The cumulative duration of the sittings was 11 hours and 27 minutes as each sitting, on average, witnessed a delay of an hour and 46 minutes from its starting time and continued for an hour and 38 minutes.

The lack of quorum persisted during the first five sittings and it was pointed out for seven times. Four sittings had to be adjourned due to the presence of less than 25% (93) lawmakers in the House while the required number was found complete twice after the customary bells were rung for five minutes. One instance was such when the quorum was found complete after suspension of the proceedings for 40 minutes.

According to FAFEN’s observation, the lawmakers’ attendance remained low throughout the session – with an average of 21 (6%) members present at the start and 50 (13%) at the adjournment of each sitting.

The Chief Minister did not attend any sitting while the Leader of the Opposition attended six sittings for four hours and 12 minutes (37% of the proceedings). The Speaker attended all sittings and chaired the House for nine hours and 51 minutes (86 % of the proceedings) while the Deputy Speaker attended one sitting. The rest of the time (96 minutes) was lost in suspension of the proceedings due to lack of quorum.

The parliamentary leaders of political parties represented in the assembly did not attend most of the sittings. The JI leader attended four sittings and PML-Z leader attended two sittings. The leaders of PPPP, PML, BNA-P, and PNML did not attend any of the sittings.  

The 35th session’s legislative agenda comprised 14 bills including one private members’ bills. The House passed three bills including one private member’s bill – the Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Bill 2017 – sponsored by JI Parliamentary Leader. Two other government bills passed by the House were the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill 2018 and the Punjab (Regularization of Service) Bill 2018.  The House referred nine government bills to the relevant standing committees while two government bills were not taken up. The bills referred to standing committee included the Punjab University of Technology Rasul Bill 2018, the Punjab Agricultural Marketing Regulatory Authority Bill 2018, the Punjab Bonded Labour System (Abolition) (Amendment) Bill 2018, the Punjab Fisheries (Amendment) Bill 2018, the Registration (Punjab Second Amendment) Bill 2018, the Punjab Government Servants Housing Foundation (Amendment) Bill 2018,  the Punjab Witness Protection Bill 2018, the Explosive Substances (Punjab Amendment) Bill 2018 and the Punjab Sound Systems (Regulation) (Amendment) Ordinance 2018. The bills not considered by the House were the Registration (Punjab Amendment) Bill 2018 and the Punjab Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2018.

All five resolutions appearing on the agenda were not taken up. These resolutions urged the government to construct a Cricket Ground in Lahore, ensure maintenance of roads affected during safe city project, take steps to control irregularities occurred during matric and intermediate exams, install CCTVs in Public places and take action to overcome the shortage of clean drinking water in Rawalpindi and Chaklala Cantonment board.

The Assembly’s Standing Committees presented 24 reports to the House during the session. These reports were mainly made on the legislative proposals, privilege motions and starred questions. The House granted the extension to various standing committees for the presentation of 12 reports while the government also presented eight reports on legislative proposals, three statutory reports and a report on the privilege motions before the House.

To download the complete report, click here