ISLAMABAD, June 18, 2011: The National Assembly met for five hours and 46 minutes during the 13th sitting of the ongoing budget session. The long stretched sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 12% Members present at the outset of the sitting and 8% present when the sitting was adjourned. The maximum attendance of Members at one point of the sitting was recorded at 47%.
A total of 143 Cut Motions were raised against the 20 Demands for Grants for the Cabinet Division. Another nine Cut Motions were raised against the three Demands for Grants for the Communication Ministry. While a total of 35 Cut Motions were raised against the eight Demands for Grants for Defence Ministry by the opposition Members.
As many as 34 Members participated during the debate on the cut motions raised to various institutions for 245 minutes (71% of sitting time).
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for an hour and seven minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM and NPP were the only ones present, while the Leaders of other parties did not attend the proceedings of the 13th sitting.
The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for five hours and 46 minutes.
- The thirteenth sitting started at 1049 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 49 minutes.
- The first 116 minutes of the sitting were chaired by the Deputy Speaker, while the remaining sitting time was presided over by the Speaker of the House.
- The Prime Minister was present for 67 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary leaders of the MQM and NPP were present during the sitting, while those of the MMAP, PPPS, PML, ANP and PMLF did not attend the sitting.
- The Chief Whips of the MQM, ANP, NPP, BNPA and PMLF remained absent, while those of the PPPP, PMLN, PML and MMAP were present.
- A total of 42 (12%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while only 27 (8%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 160 (47%) Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- The Finance Minister was present during the sitting.
- As many as four Members appealed for the leave to be absent from the proceedings of the sitting.
- A total of nine out of 10 minority Members were present during the sitting.
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 “non-provision of facility of solar power for domestic use in Pakistan”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Water and Power, and was moved by three Members of the PPPP and two female Members of the ANP.
- A total of 143 Cut Motions were raised against the 20 Demands for Grants for the Cabinet Division. As many as 14 Members spoke on the subject for 105 minutes – 13 Members were affiliated to the PMLN and one to the MMAP. The debate was concluded by the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. She spoke for 10 minutes.
- Another nine Cut Motions were raised against the three Demands for Grants for the Communication Ministry. A total of eight Members – five PMLN Members and three MMAP Members – spoke on the subject for 37 minutes.
- A total of 35 Cut Motions were raised against the eight Demands for Grants for the Defence Ministry by the opposition. As many as nine PMLN Members spoke on the subject for 73 minutes. The debate was concluded by the Federal Ministers for Defence and Communications. They both spoke for 10 minutes each.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of five Points of Order were raised, which consumed 16 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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