ISLAMABAD, December 14, 2012: Starting an hour and 50 minutes late, the second sitting of the 43rd session of Punjab Assembly met for an hour and 40 minutes continued to witness low attendance of members. Only 7% of the current 369 members were present at the outset while 5% were there at the adjournment.
Punjab Assembly is the biggest legislature representing a vast majority of people, but members failed to turn up for the proceedings. All the agenda items listed for the Orders of the Day were left unaddressed.
Three bills – the Punjab Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Punjab Public Service Commission (Second Amendment) Bill 2012, and the Punjab Government Servants Housing Foundation (Second Amendment) Bill 2012 – were not taken up by the House.
The Chief Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Speaker and the parliamentary leaders of PML, MMAP, PMLF, and PMLZ remained absent.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for an hour and 40 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1050 hours instead of the scheduled time of 0900 hours. The proceedings started late by an hour and 50 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the entire sitting. The Deputy Speaker was not present.
- The Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- None of the parliamentary leaders of PML, MMAP, PMLF and PMLZ were present.
- Only 26 members (7% out of the total current membership of 369) were present at the outset while 19 were there at the adjournment. A maximum of 53 members were present at one point of the sitting.
- Four minority members attended the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Fifteen of the 33 starred questions (requiring oral replies) appearing on the agenda were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, 30 supplementary questions were asked.
- Four of the seven adjournment motions raised in the house were disposed-off while the rest were deferred.
- A Standing Committee report about the Punjab Building Control and Housing Schemes Regulatory Authority Bill 2012 was presented.
- Three bills – the Punjab Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Punjab Public Service Commission (Second Amendment) Bill 2012, and the Punjab Government Servants Housing Foundation (Amendment) Bill 2012 – were not taken up by the House.
- The financial statement of the government of the Punjab for the year 2006-07 report, and the financial statement of the government of the Punjab for the year 2007-2008 report were not presented.
Order and institutionalization
- Three Points of Order (POs) were raised which consumed two minutes of the sitting time. None of the Points of Order attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
- 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 of the sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the legislators.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN, a member organization of FAFEN.
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