ISLAMABAD, November 10, 2010: National Assembly left most of the agenda unaddressed during the seventh sitting of the ongoing 26th session.
The sitting started 60 minutes late against the stipulated time of 1700 hours and lasted for three hours and 25 minutes. Although the attendance of members was relatively better than the previous sittings, the members mostly raised Points of Order to debate upon them and disregarded most of the regular agenda. There were 116 members present at the outset, while 134 were present when the sitting was adjourned.
Points of Order consumed 70% of the sitting time, while the three bills on the Orders of the Day were not taken up by the House. The National Assembly did not debate upon the adjournment motion on the price hike of petroleum products. However, this issue was highlighted in many of the Points of Order.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 157 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 158 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of PML, MQM and PPPS were present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not show up.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 25 minutes.
- The seventh sitting started at 1800 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 60 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for 137 minutes, while the remaining 68 minutes of the sitting was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 157 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 158 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of PML, MQM and PPPS were present, while the leaders of MMAP, ANP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PML, PMLN and ANP were present, while the chief whips of MMAP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 116 (34%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 134 (39%) members were present at the end of the sitting.
- Twenty one members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of nine out of 10 minority members were present during the 7th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. None of the Calling Attention Notices were taken up during the sitting.
- The first CAN was regarding “non-writing off loans of farmers in Sindh by Zarai Tariqiati Bank Ltd and House Building Finance Corporation since the flood in years 1988, 1996, 2002 and 2010”. The CAN was directed to the Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development. This CAN was moved by four members of the PPPP and one member of the PML.
- The other CAN on the Orders of the Day was regarding “shortage of Ph.D. teachers in the country leading to crisis in Universities” which was directed to the Ministry of Education. This CAN was moved by five female parliamentarians of the PMLN.
- A total of 25 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only nine were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 19 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the seventh sitting.
- There were three bills [The Right to Information Bill, 2010], [The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2010] and [The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill, 2008], which were not taken up by the House.
Order and Institutionalization
- 30 Points of Order were raised, consuming 144 minutes (70% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There was one admitted Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day regarding “the increase in the prices of petroleum products resulting in price-hike in the country”. The motion was debated upon during the sitting.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
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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