ISLAMABAD, February 18, 2013: Starting an hour and 40 minutes late, the first sitting of 50th session of National Assembly met for an hour and 52 minutes on Monday, witnessed low attendance of Members. Only 41 members were present at the start of the sitting while 68 were there at the end.
Additionally, the Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition and the parliamentary leaders of MQM, PML, PMLF, BNPA, NPP, PPPS, ANP and MMAP did not attend the sitting. The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the legislators.
PPPP, MQM, ANP and MMAP Members staged walkouts separately over the recent Quetta bomb blast.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for an hour and 52 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1840 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1500 hours, witnessing a delay of an hour and 40 minutes.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 62 minutes while the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- Only the parliamentary leader of PPPS attended the sitting.
- The chief whips of PPPP, PMLN, MMAP and ANP were present whereas those of MQM, PML and PMLF did not attend the sitting.
- Forty-one members were present at the outset while 68 were there at the end. A maximum of 104 members were present at one point of sitting.
- One minority member attended the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Eleven members including the Prime Minister debated the prevailing law and order in the country for 95 minutes.
- The Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2013 was introduced and sent to the respective Standing Committee.
- Two standing committee reports were presented.
Order and Institutionalization
- Two points of order consumed five minutes.
- PPPP, MQM, ANP and MMAP Members staged walkouts separately over the recent Quetta bomb blast.
- Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was not available 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 the National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI); a member organization of FAFEN
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