ISLAMABAD, March 25, 2010: The Ninth sitting of the 20th session was marked by low attendance of the legislators with 72 members present at the outset and 52 at the end. Although the Quorum was lacking at various stages of the sitting, the lack of Quorum was not pointed out by any of the members. The sitting also witnessed a procession by members of PML, which resulted into a boycott by the party on alleged rigging in Gujrat by-elections, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on Ninth Sitting of 20th Session of the National Assembly Proceedings.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 2 Hours and 44 Minutes.
- The ninth sitting started at 1747 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 47 minutes.
- The Speaker of the House and the Deputy Speaker were not present during the sitting. The sitting was chaired by Mr. Abdul Qadir Patel for 2 hours and 26 minutes and Miss. Yasmeen Rehman chaired the remaining 25 minutes (Panel of Chairpersons).
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 32 minutes. However, the Leader of Opposition was absent.
- The House took a 51-minute break for prayers.
- Parliamentary leaders of PMLF and PPPS were present, while the leaders of PML, NPP, MMAP, MQM, PMLF, ANP and BNPA remained absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, ANP, MMAP, PMLF and PPPS, and were present, while the Chief Whips of NPP and BNPA were absent.
- Seven members appealed for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of 72 members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 52 members remained present at the end of the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both CANs.
- The Calling Attention Notices taken up by the House were directed to the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Water and Power.
- The CAN directed to the Ministry of Health was tabled by 5 members of PPPP, while the CAN directed to the Ministry of Water and Power was co-sponsored by 4 members of PMLN and 1 member belonging to PML.
- A total of 22 questions were listed on the agenda to be taken up during the Question Hour. However, only 6 questions were raised and responded to, by the relevant minister.
- The only bill [The National Defense University Bill, 2009] on the Orders of the Day was not taken up by the House.
Order and institutionalization
- 16 Points of Order were raised, taking up 43 minutes of the House proceedings. However, none of them required Speaker’s ruling.
- There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
- There was one instance of boycott by members of PML accusing PMLN for rigging the Gujrat by-election. The PML members left the assembly hall at 1940 hours and did not return for the rest of 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 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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