ISLAMABAD, January 31, 2011: The National Assembly met for two hours and 55 minutes during the sixth sitting of the ongoing 28th session. The sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 63 Members present at the outset and 95 present when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of
138 Members were observed to be present at one point of the sitting.
A total of eight Members spoke on the admitted Adjournment Motion regarding “increase in the prices of items of daily use” for 45 minutes. The House did not take up the three bills which were listed on the Orders of theDay.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 32 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leader of the PPPS was the only one present, whereas the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not attend the sitting’s proceedings. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and 55 minutes.
- The sixth sitting started at 1735 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 35 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the sitting. The initial 59 minutes of the sitting was chaired by a Member of Panel of Chairpersons, while the remaining time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 32 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary Leader of the PPPS was the only one present, while the leaders of the PML, MMAP, ANP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN and MQM were present, while the Chief Whips of the PML, ANP, PMLF, MMAP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 63 (19%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting,while 95 (28%) Members at the end of the sitting.
- A total of twenty Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- The House took a 41-minute break for prayers.
- As many as seven out of 10 minority Members were present during the 6th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up the CANs.
- The first CAN was regarding the “unprecedented rise in Nonperforming
Loans (NPLs) of banking sector to Rs. 494 billion at the end of third quarter of the current fiscal year” which was directed to the Ministry of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- The other CAN was regarding the “massive increase in the cancellation and change of booking charges by the PIA” which was directed to the Ministry of Defense. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 24 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions
Hour. However, only six were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 11Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the sixth sitting.
- There were three Bills [The Women in Distress and Detention Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2010], [The Guardians and Wards (Amendment) Bill, 2009] and [The Family Courts Amendment) Bill, 2009] on the Orders of the Day. These Bills were not taken up during the course of the sitting.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of eight Points of Order were raised, consuming 25 minutes (14% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted the Speaker’s formal ruling.
- The House debated on the admitted Adjournment Motion regarding “increase in the prices of items of daily use” for 45 minutes. A total of eight Members spoke on the issue, which included four Members of the PML, two Members of the PMLN and one Member of the MQM. An Independent Member also took part in the debates.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the sixth sitting.
- 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 the Senate proceedings conducted by Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a member organization of FAFEN
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