ISLAMABAD, September 27, 2010: The sixth sitting of the 25th session of the National Assembly met for an hour and thirty minutes, with a break of 28 minutes on account of prayers.
The sitting started with 76 legislators present, while 126 were present when the sitting was adjourned due to a protest by the Opposition and treasury benches on non-release and imprisonment of Dr. Afia Siddiqui by United States of America.
Members of the National Assembly left most of the agenda unaddressed. The entire sitting time was taken up by the Question Hour and Points of Order.
The Prime Minister was absent from the sixth sitting, while the Leader of Opposition was present for the last 15 minutes of the proceedings. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for an hour and 30 minutes.
- The sixth sitting started at 1730 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 30 minutes.
- The Speaker presided over the last five minutes of the sitting, while the Deputy Speaker chaired the remaining 85 minutes.
- The Prime Minister remained absent, while the Leader of Opposition attended the sitting for 15 minutes.
- Only the Parliamentary Leaders of PPPS, PML and MMAP were present, while the leaders of ANP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML and ANP were present, while the chief whips of MQM, PMLF, MMAP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 71 (21%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 96 (37%) members at the end of the sitting.
- The house took a break of 28-minute.
- Six members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as five out of 10 minority members were present during the 6thsitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House did not take up both the CANs.
- A total of 20 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only six were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- A total of 17 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the sixth sitting.
- There were two bills [The Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Bill, 2010] and [The Degree Awarding Status to Dawood College of Engineering and Technology, Karachi Bill, 2010on the Orders of the Day], which were not taken up by the House.
Order and institutionalization
- Seven Points of Order were raised, consuming 13 minutes of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There was one Motion Under Rule 259 regarding the “Human Rights violations in Occupied Kashmir” on the Orders of the Day. However, the House did not debate on the motion.
- An adjournment motion was admitted on “non-release of Dr Afia Siddique from prison in United States of America”.
- There was no instance of protest, walkout or boycott during the fourth sitting.
- 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 during the sitting. However, lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the members of the National Assembly.
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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