ISLAMABAD, June 13, 2012: On the second day of general discussion on the budget in the Punjab Assembly, only four legislators (one percent of the total membership) were present in the House at the start of the sitting and six when it was adjourned on Wednesday.
The Chief Minister was absent for the sixth time during this session. He only attended the sitting on Saturday when the budget was presented. The Leader of the Opposition attended the sitting for 25 minutes.
Additionally, the Speaker and the parliamentary leaders of PMLF and PMLZ did not turn up for the proceedings. A maximum of 52 legislators were observed to be present at one point of the sitting. The Punjab Assembly is the largest legislature in Pakistan with a current total membership of 369.
The sitting lasted seven hours and 15 minutes. A total of 24 Members – 12 from PMLN, seven PPPP, four PML and one PMLF – spoke on the budget for 354 minutes (81%) of the sitting time.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for seven hours and 15 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1045 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The proceedings started 40 minutes late.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for an hour and 13 minutes while the remaining time was presided over by Members of Panel of Chairpersons. The Speaker was absent.
- The Chief Minister did not attend the sitting while the Leader of the Opposition was there for 25 minutes.
- The parliamentary leaders of PML and MMAP were present while the leaders of PMLF and PMLZ were absent.
- Only four Members (1% of the total Membership of 369) were present at the start while six (2%) were there when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 52 (14%) were present at one point of the sitting.
- Five minority Members were present.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The Minister for Finance presented the Annual Budget Statement on June 9, 2012.
- A total of 24 Members – 12 from PMLN, seven PPPP, four PML and one PMLF – spoke on the budget for 354 minutes (81%) of the sitting time.
- There was no other formal agenda on the Orders of the Day.
Order and Institutionalization
- One Point of Order consumed two minutes of sitting time.
- There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts.
- 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 Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN Development Organization, a member organization of FAFEN
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