ISLAMABAD, November 17, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and five minutes during the 4th sitting of the ongoing 36th session. Though like previous sittings the quorum was lacking, it was not pointed out by any of the Members. A total of 27 Legislators were observed to be present at the outset of the sitting, while 61 Members were present when it was adjourned.
The National Assembly unanimously passed two bills – the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2011 and the Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill 2011.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 26 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 25 minutes. The PMLN staged a 10-minute walkout, protesting against corruption in the country. While the MQM Members boycotted the sitting over Sindh Information Minister accompanying the former provincial interior Minister to London. They went out of the House at 1303 hours and did not come back to attend the remaining proceedings.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and five minutes.
- The fourth sitting started at 1035 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1030 hours. The House proceedings started late by five minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for 11 minutes, while the remaining sitting time was presided over by A Member of Panel of Chairpersons. The Deputy Speaker was not present during the proceedings.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 26 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition was present for 25 minutes.
- None of the parliamentary leaders attended the fourth sitting.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN, MMAP, PML and ANP were present, while those of the NPP, BNPA, PPPS and PMLF were absent.
- A total of 27 (8%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 61 (18%) Members at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 125 Members (37%) was observed at one point of the sitting.
- Eight Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as six out of 10 minority Members were present during the 4th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The House took up both the Calling Attention Notices (CANs) that appeared on the Orders of the Day.
- The first CAN was moved by five PPPP Members – three females and two males.
- The other CAN was regarding the “difficulties faced by overseas Pakistanis about investment in Pakistan” which was directed to the Cabinet Secretariat. This CAN was moved by five other PPPP Members – two females and three males.
- A total of 20 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only six were raised and responded by the relevant minister.
- A total of 22 Supplementary Questions were raised during the fourth sitting.
- The National Assembly unanimously passed the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2011 and the Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill 2011 during the sitting.
- The Motion regarding the extension of the Industrial Relation Ordinance (IRO) 2002 for another 120 days was approved by the House.
- A Standing Committee Report regarding a Question of Privilege was presented to the House.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 20 Points of Order were raised, consuming 80 (43%) minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
- The PMLN staged a walkout protesting against corruption in the country. The walkout lasted 10 minutes. On another instance, MQM Members boycotted the sitting over Sindh Information Minister accompanying the former provincial interior Minister to London. They went out of the House at 1303 hours and did not come back to attend the remaining proceedings.
- 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 lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the Members.
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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