ISLAMABAD, December 11, 2014: Starting 55 minutes behind schedule, the fifth sitting of the Punjab Assembly’s 11th session witnessed low attendance as only 23 members (6%) were present at the outset and 54 (15%) at the adjournment, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its daily factsheet.
The sitting lasted an hour and 59 minutes during which the House passed the Punjab Institute of Qura’n and Seerat Studies Bill 2014 which was introduced by the Punjab Law Minister.
The quorum was visibly lacking during the entire sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the lawmakers. The Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader did not attend the sitting which was chaired by the Deputy Speaker.
Following are some key observations of the proceedings:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for an hour and 59 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1055 hours against the scheduled time of 1000 hours, witnessing a delay of 55 minutes.
- Twenty-three members (6%) were present at the outset and 54 (15%) at the adjournment of the sitting. A maximum of 95 members (26%) were observed to be present at one point of the sitting.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the entire sitting.
- The Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader were absent.
- Among parliamentary leaders, only the JI leader was present.
- Four minority members attended the sitting.
- None of the member applied for leave.
- The House passed the Punjab Institute of Qura’n and Seerat Studies Bill 2014 which was introduced by the Punjab Law Minister.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Fourteen out of 26 starred questions appearing on the agenda were answered by the relevant departments while 28 supplementary questions were raised by the MPAs.
- Sponsored by a PPPP lawmaker, the House took up a calling attention notice (CAN) on a shootout during an attempted robbery in Urdu Bazaar, Lahore.
- Another CAN sponsored by a JI lawmaker on the murder of four persons in Sheikhupura was also taken up during the sitting.
- Five adjournment motions raised by two PML-N lawmakers were adjourned to be discussed in any of the next sittings. The motions were related to dropout ratio in government education institutions; improper water supply at a housing society in Lahore; improper functioning and corruption in Walled City of Lahore Authority and demolishing of property on Jhang Road without prior intimation to the owners.
Order and Institutionalization
- The lawmakers raised one point of order that consumed three minutes of the proceedings’ time.
- No protests/walkouts/boycotts were witnessed during the sitting.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was unavailable to the observers and public.
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The daily factsheet is based on direct observation of Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN Development Organization – a member organization of FAFEN
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