ISLAMABAD, December 11, 2012: The 2nd NA sitting left 76% of the agenda unaddressed listed on the Orders of the Day. Like previous Private Members’ Days, the agenda for the sitting was set ambitiously which cannot be taken up during a span of a single sitting. The House did not take up five private bills; six resolutions; eight motions under rule 259; and a matter of public of importance about law and order in Pakistan.
The sitting was also marked by disinterest of members as only 15% of the total membership – 341– was present at the outset and 7% were there when sitting was adjourned.
The Leader of the Opposition, Speaker and the parliamentary leaders of PML, PMLF, MQM, MMAP, ANP and NPP did not attend the sitting.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and 38 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1142 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1100 hours, witnessing a delay of 42 minutes.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 35 minutes while the remaining time was presided over by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 17 minutes while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent.
- Only the parliamentary leaders of BNPA and PPPS attended the sitting while those of PML, PMLF, MQM, MMAP, ANP and NPP were absent.
- The chief whips of PPPP, PMLN and MMAP were present while those of PML, PMLF, MQM and ANP did not attend the sitting.
- Fifty-one members (15% of total membership – 341) were present at the start while 24 (7%) were there at the adjournment of the sitting. A maximum of 128 (38%) members were present at one point of the sitting.
- Nine minority members attended the sitting.
- Six members applied for leave.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) appearing on the Orders of the Day were taken up by the House. The CANs were about the “stoppage of 5% allowance to the laborers out of the annual profit of factory owners” and “the delay in the preparation of passports due to non-provision of funds to the passport offices”.
- A matter of public importance – under rule 87 – about the shortage, low pressure, and non-supply of gas/CNG for a couple of days in the country was debated for 14 minutes.
- Three of the eight bills – the Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Medical and Dental Council (Amendment) Bill 2012 and the National Commission for Child Rights Bill 2012 – appearing on the orders of the day were introduced and sent to the respective Standing Committees.
Order and Institutionalization
- Thirty-five points of order were raised which consumed 108 minutes (68% 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 the National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI); a member organization of FAFEN
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