- 101 lawmakers attend less than half of sittings
- Attendance remains higher in shorter sessions while lower in longer sessions
- Average annual attendance the lowest during second parliamentary year
The 14th National Assembly completed its third parliamentary year on May 31, 2016. It held 32 sessions spanning over 289 sittings from June 1, 2013, to May 30, 2016. The attendance record of lawmakers was first made public on the National Assembly website at the outset of this parliamentary year in June 2015. The Free and Fair Election Network acquired the last two years’ attendance record from the National Assembly by filing an information request. The current report is based on the official attendance record and does not include the attendance of the Joint Sittings of both Houses of the Parliament.
The attendance of lawmakers was recorded the highest during the first session of the 14th National Assembly. It witnessed the highest presence of lawmakers again during the third and 19th sessions which were single-sitting sessions. The third sitting of the first session was highest attended sitting when the election of the Prime Minister took place in the presence of 318 lawmakers. The fourth sitting of 18th session was the least attended sitting with only 87 members being present.
The annual average attendance of lawmakers witnessed a downward trend during the second parliamentary year. Each lawmaker, on average, attended 64 sittings during the first, 51 sittings during the second and 59 during the third year. Similarly, on average, each sitting of the first year was attended by 222 lawmakers second by 194 and third by 208 lawmakers.
Less than half of the members present in 38 out of 289 sitting. As many as 101 lawmakers (29%) attended less than half (145) of the sittings. Among the less regular members include prominent names like Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his nephew Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, parliamentary leaders of PTI Imran Khan, MQM Farooq Sattar, JUI-F Fazl-ur-Rehman and PML Pervaiz Elahi.
National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq attended 245 sittings during three years while Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi was present in 237 sittings. Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif attended 39 sittings during three years – nine each in first and third parliamentary year and 21 in second parliamentary year. Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah attended 221 sittings.
As many as 26 Cabinet Members – 17 Federal Ministers and 9 Ministers of State – are Members of the National Assembly. Each Minister, on average, attended 172 sittings during three parliamentary years. Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad was marked present during 285 sittings and was the most regular minister in the National Assembly. He is the second most regular lawmaker during three years. Nine other cabinet members attended more than 200 sittings. Two Federal Ministers Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi and Ahsan Iqbal attended 80 and 99 sittings, respectively. More than half of the ministers remained absent from as many as 54 sittings while there were only four sittings when all 26 ministers were present.
There are 70 female lawmakers in the National Assembly – 60 on reserved seats, nine elected and one minority. Nearly 77% women lawmakers attended half or more sittings. Each woman lawmaker, on average, attended more sittings than their male counterparts. A woman lawmaker, on average, attended 70 sittings during the first parliamentary year, 54 in the second year and 67 in the third year. On average, a male lawmaker attended 62, 51 and 57 sittings during these years. Aliya Kamran from JUI-F remained the most regular lawmaker.
There are ten lawmakers elected on seats reserved for religious minorities. Half of them attended more than 200 sittings during three parliamentary years. Each minority lawmaker, on average, attended 197 sittings which is much higher than overall average of other lawmakers i.e. 168.
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