Low Attendance, Delay in Sittings Mark Punjab Assembly’s 27th Session

ISLAMABAD, March 22, 2017: The Punjab Assembly witnessed low attendance throughout 27th session with the Chief Minister staying away from the proceedings for the consecutive fifth session. Among other important parliamentary figures, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and the Leader of the Opposition attended nine, three and six out of 11 sittings, respectively.

On average, 87 lawmakers (23%) attended each sitting of the entire session. The long delays in commencement of Assembly sittings continued during this session as well. On average, each sitting started one hour and 33 minutes behind its scheduled time.

The identification of missing quorum disrupted the proceedings 14 times. Seven sittings faced suspensions or adjournments due to lack of quorum while five times the quorum was completed on ringing bells installed in the Assembly chambers. Nearly 13% duration of the proceedings was consumed in suspensions due to quorum related issues.

One Govt. Bill Passed; Six Resolutions Adopted

Two Private Members’ Bills Remain Unaddressed

Chief Minister Remains Absent Since Five Sessions

The Assembly considered and passed one bill and held pre-budget discussion during the session. Sixty-seven lawmakers belonging to seven political parties participated in the discussion that continued for more than seven hours spanning over five sittings. However, no recommendations were referred to the government for upcoming budget at the end of discussion.

The session also witnessed adoption of six resolutions and presentation of four committee reports. Meanwhile, the lawmakers asked 258 questions and submitted seven Calling Attention Notices (CANs) during the reporting session. The treasury kept ignoring lawmakers’ Adjournment Motions (AM) on the matters of public importance. More than 80% AMs kept pending till the last sitting. Under the rules, the pending AMs lapse with the prorogation of the relevant session. Two Calling Attention Notices and as many Zero Hour notices also remained unaddressed while 29 Starred Questions were not taken up for oral answers by the government.

The reporting session was better than the preceding one with regards to the protests. Unlike 13 protests/walkouts during the last session, the 27th session witnessed only two such instances. The opposition parties registered their protest over mismanagement of sale of Pakistan Super League’s tickets and alleged partisan behavior of the Speaker through token walkout and boycott of the proceedings.

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