ISLAMABAD, March 16, 2012: The National Assembly lasting for an hour and 50 minutes during the third and final sitting of the 40th session on Friday, could not conduct any formal proceedings due to continuous sloganeering and protests by MQM legislators against extortion in Karachi.
Staring 55 minutes late, the sitting was attended by 53 Legislators present at the start and by 124 when the sitting was adjourned.
Though nine Points of Order were raised consuming 47 minutes of the sitting time, none of them attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
Out of a total of 23 starred questions on the Agenda, ten were responded as 14 Supplementary questions were asked.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for an hour and 50 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1055 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The proceedings started 55 minutes late.
- The Speaker presided over the sitting for 36 minutes, the Deputy Speaker for one hour and 14 minutes and a member of Panel of Chairpersons chaired the sitting for 11 minutes.
- Fifty-three Legislators (18%) were present at the outset of the sitting while there were 124 MNAs (37%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 148 Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- Eight minority Members were present.
- Seven Members applied for leave of absence.
- The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were not present.
- Only the PPPS Parliamentary Leader attended the proceedings.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, MQM, ANP, PMLN, MMA and PPPS were present in the House.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Out of the 23 questions to be taken up during the Question Hour, only 10 were put up and responded by the relevant ministries.
- Fourteen Supplementary questions were raised during the sitting.
Order and institutionalization
- Nine Points of Order were raised consuming 47 minutes of the sitting time; none of them attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
- Members of MQM did not allow the House to conduct any formal proceedings due to continuous sloganeering and protests by its legislators against extortion in Karachi. The sloganeering began at 1155 and continued with minor breaks till the session was prorogued at 1245.
- A joint sitting of both Houses will convene tomorrow at 1330 for the formal presidential address.
- 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 Member.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a Member organization of FAFEN.
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