ISLAMABAD, June 20, 2011: The National Assembly met for five hours and 24 minutes during the 14th sitting of the ongoing budget session. The sitting was marked by low attendance of Members, with only 14% Members present at the outset of the sitting and 35% present when the sitting was adjourned. The maximum attendance of Members at one point of the sitting was recorded at 55%.
The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but it was not pointed out by any the Members.
As many as 32 Members participated during the debate on the cut motions raised against various institutions for 220 minutes (68% of sitting time).
A total of 63 Cut Motions were raised against the four Demands for Grants for the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Another 35 Cut Motions were raised against the six Demands for Grants for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. While a total of 33 Cut Motions were raised against the five Demands for Grants for Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry by the opposition Members.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 42 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the PML, PPPS and NPP were the only ones present, while the Leaders of other parties did not attend the proceedings of the 14th sitting.
The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for five hours and 24 minutes.
- The fourteenth sitting started at 1645 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 45 minutes.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 120 minutes, while the remaining sitting time was presided over by the Speaker of the House.
- The Prime Minister was present for 42 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary leaders of the PML, PPPS and NPP were present during the sitting, while those of the MMAP, MQM, ANP and PMLF did not attend the sitting.
- The Chief Whips of the BNPA and MMAP remained absent, while those of the PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, PMLF and ANP were present.
- A total of 49 (14%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 121 (35%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 186 (55%) Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- The Finance Minister was present during the sitting.
- As many as three Members appealed for the leave to be absent from the proceedings of the sitting.
- A total of eight out of 10 minority Members were present during the sitting.
- The house took a break of 45-minute.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one Calling Attention Notice.
- The taken up CAN was regarding the “leasing out land worth of Rs.25 arb for Rs.54 crore by the KPT”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Ports and Shipping, and was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 63 Cut Motions were raised against the four Demands for Grants for the Foreign Affairs Ministry. As many as 16 PMLN Members spoke on the subject for 130 minutes. The debate was concluded by the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. She spoke for 10 minutes.
- Another 35 Cut Motions were raised against the six Demands for Grants for the Information and Broadcasting Ministry. A total of five Members – four PMLN Members and one MMAP Member – spoke on the subject for 23 minutes.
- A total of 33 Cut Motions were raised against the five Demands for Grants for the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry by the opposition. As many as seven PMLN Members and one MMAP Member spoke on the subject for 37 minutes. The debate was concluded by the Federal Ministers for Information and Broadcasting, and Petroleum and Natural Resources. They both spoke for 10 minutes each.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of two Points of Order were raised, which consumed five minutes of the sitting time
- There was no Adjournment Motion raised during the course of the sitting.
- There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts during the sitting.
- The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but it was not pointed out by any the Members.
- Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The copies of the budgetary proposals were available to the concerned.
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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