Low attendance marks 21st sitting of 23rd NA session

ISLAMABAD, June 30, 2010: In the last sitting of the 23rd session, the National Assembly met for a total of 04 hours and 18 minutes with low attendance of members. The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but the lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the members, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the National Assembly Proceedings.

The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The National Assembly met for 04 hours and 18 minutes.
  • The twenty-first sitting started at 1742 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1742 hours. The House proceedings started late by 42 minutes.
  • The Deputy Speaker chaired the first 58 minutes of the sitting, while the remaining sitting was presided over by the Speaker.
  • The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 53 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
  • Parliamentary leaders of MQM, PPPS and PMLF were present while the leaders of PML, ANP, NPP, MMAP and BNPA were absent.
  • The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, ANP and PPPS were present, while the chief whips of MMAP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
  • 17 members appealed for leave to be absent from the sitting.
  • A total of 58 (17%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 71(21%) members at the end of the sitting.
  • As many as seven minority members were present during the 21st sitting.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • There were 2 Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. Both the CANs were taken up by the House.
  • The first Calling Attention Notice taken up by the House was directed to the Ministry of Health regarding ‘non regularization of ad-hoc Doctors and Nurses working in the Hospitals under the administrative control of the Ministry of Health’. This CAN was raised by one member each of PML, PMLN, PPPP, MQM and ANP.
  • The other CAN, taken up by the House was directed to the Ministry of Communications regarding the ‘cancellation of a multi-billion contract of collection of toll on Motorway, by the National Highway Authority
  • (NHA) in violation of the PPRA rules’. This CAN was raised by 5 PMLN members.
  • A total of 36 questions were listed on the agenda to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 11 questions were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.


  • There were two bills on the Orders of the Day. The Islamabad High Court Bill, 2010 was passed by the National Assembly after deliberations, while the Sea Carriage Shipping Documents Bill, 2010 was introduced and sent to the Standing Committee of Ports and Shipping.

Order and institutionalization

  • 13 Points of Order were raised, taking up 33 minutes of the House proceedings. However, it didn’t require Speaker’s ruling.
  • There was neither an Adjournment Motion scheduled on Orders of the Day, nor was one raised in today’s proceedings.
  • There was an instance of a token walkout by a member of MQM, on the issue of ‘illegal possession of his property’. The walkout lasted five minutes.


  • Orders of the Day were 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 the National Assembly.

The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of National Assembly proceedings conducted by CPDI-Pakistan, a member organization of FAFEN.