Low-attendance 14th sitting continues debate on budget

ISLAMABAD, June 19, 2010: The 14th sitting of the 23rd Session debated on the budgetary proposals for a total of 317 minutes. The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 32 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was absent. The sitting was marked by low attendance with only 31 members present at the outset and 29 present at the end, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on National Assembly proceedings.

The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The National Assembly met for 05 hours and 29 minutes without any break.
  • The 14th sitting started at 1110 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1100 hours. The House proceedings started late by 10 minutes.
  • The Speaker was not present in the sitting. Abdul Qadir Patel (Member of Panel of Chairpersons) chaired the sitting for 80 minutes while remaining 249 minutes were chaired by the Deputy Speaker.
  • The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 32 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the 14th sitting.
  • Parliamentary Leader of only PML was present, while the leaders of PMLF, PPPS, MQM, ANP, NPP, MMAP and BNPA did not attend the sitting.
  • The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML and MQM were present, while those of PMLF, PPPS, ANP, MMAP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
  • One member appealed for leave to be absent from 14th sitting.
  • 31 (9%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 29 (8%) members were present when the sitting was adjourned. The maximum presence of members during sitting was recorded at 113 (33%).
  • A total of three minority members were present during the thirteenth sitting.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • As many as 13 members spoke on the budgetary proposals presented during the third sitting.
  • As many as four members of PPPP spoke for a total of 56 minutes. Five members of PMLN took 66 minutes to speak on the proposed budget. Parliamentary Leader of PML spoke on budget for 87 minutes, one member each from MQM, ANP and MMAP took 5, 6 and 8 minutes respectively to speak on budgetary proposals.
  • The Minister for Finance and Revenue attended the sitting for 130 minutes.
  • As many as 7 Members (4 from PML, two from PMLN and one from PPPP) spoke on Senate budget proposals for 89 minutes.

Order and institutionalization

  • There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
  • There was no instance of protest, boycott or walkout during the sitting.


  • Orders of the Day was 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 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