ISLAMABAD, October 07, 2010: The National Assembly met for two hours and 10 minutes in the 14th sitting of the 25th session. The sitting started 60 minutes late against the stipulated time.
The Parliamentary Party of PMLN boycotted the proceedings of the 14th sitting expressing their reservations on passing “The Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Bill, 2010”. This bill was unanimously passed by the House in the 13th sitting. The treasury benches defended the passage of this bill as a piece of pro-people legislation.
The sitting witnessed low attendance of members with 72 (21%) members at the onset of the sitting and only 30 (9%) present at the end of the sitting. Although the Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, the lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the members
There were four bills on the Orders of the Day. However, the House did not take up any of the bills. National Assembly continued debate on the admitted adjournment motion regarding “the incursion of ISAF forces into Pakistan which resulted in the loss of thirty-five lives of Pakistanis” for 27 minutes. A total of 23 Points of Order were raised which consumed 34 minutes of the sitting time.
None of the Parliamentary Leaders were present to attend the proceedings of the fourteenth sitting. The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 55 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 11 minutes. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and 10 minutes.
- The fourteenth sitting started at 1100 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 60 minutes.
- A Member of the Panel of Chairpersons presided over the last 28 minutes of the sitting, while the remaining time of the sitting was chaired by the Speaker. The Deputy Speaker remained absent.
- The Prime Minister was present for 55 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition attended the sitting for 11 minutes.
- None of Parliamentary Leaders attended the fourteenth sitting.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of ANP, PPPS, PMLF, NPP, MQM and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 72 (21%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 30 (9%) members at the end of the sitting.
- Five members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as six out of 10 minority members were present during the 14thsitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The taken up CAN was regarding the “increase in the rate of interest by the State Bank of Pakistan resulting in price-hike, fiscal deficit and reduction in growth rate” which was directed to the Ministries of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development. This CAN was moved by five members of the PMLN.
- The second CAN on the Orders of the Day was regarding the “non-inclusion of new tax payers into the tax net resulting in more tax burden on the current tax payers” which was directed to the Ministries of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development. This CAN was moved by five members of the MQM.
- A total of 14 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only twelve were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- A total of 24 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the fourteenth sitting
- There were four bills on the Orders of the Day. The House did not take up any of the bills, due to the boycott of the sitting by the Parliamentary Party of PMLN.
Order and institutionalization
- 23 Points of Order were raised, consuming 34 minutes of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- The House debated on the admitted Adjournment Motion regarding “the incursion of ISAF forces into Pakistan which resulted in the loss of thirty-five lives of Pakistanis” for 27 minutes. As many as four members took part in the debates which included two members of the MQM and one member of the PML. An independent member also spoke on the issue.
- There was one Motion Under Rule 259 on the Orders of the Day, regarding “Human Rights violations in the Occupied Kashmir” which was not taken up by the House.
- There was an instance of a boycott by members of PMLN. The Parliamentary Party expressed their reservations on “The Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Bill, 2010” which was passed unanimously by the House during the 13th 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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