ISLAMABAD, February 1, 2017: The National Assembly transacted heavy legislative business in the absence of Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition by passing seven bills and adopting a supplementary resolution on Wednesday, observes Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN).
Following are key observations of the proceedings during fifth sitting of the 39th session:
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 11 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1034 hours against the scheduled time of 1030 hours.
- The Speaker presided over the sitting for an hour and 27 minutes while the rest of the proceedings were chaired by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Leader of the House (Prime Minister) and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- Seventeen lawmakers (5%) were present at the outset and 59 (17%) at the adjournment of sitting.
- The Parliamentary leaders of PkMAP, JI, ANP and PML-Z attended the sitting.
- Six minority members were present.
- Seventeen members applied for leave.
- Tabled by Minister for Law and Justice, the House passed the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Bill, 2017, the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Companies (Appointment of Legal Advisers) (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Explosive Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Limited Liability Partnership Bill, 2016, the National Commission on the Rights of the Child Bill, 2016 and the Illegal Dispossession (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
- The House deferred consideration of the Companies Bill, 2016 until next sitting.
- The House unanimously adopted a resolution to condemn terrorist attack on a mosque at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec, Canada on January 29, 2017. The resolution was tabled by the Minister for Law and Justice as supplementary agenda.
- The House referred three government bills – the Apprenticeship Bill, 2017, the Pakistan Tobacco Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Public Interest Disclosures Bill, 2017 – to relevant standing committees after their introduction.
- The Chairman, Standing Committee on Law and Justice presented the committee report on the Alternate Dispute Resolution Bill, 2016.
- Chairman Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization presented the committee report on the Cost and Management Accountants (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
- A Standing Committee report on the Costs of Litigation Bill, 2016 was presented by the Chairman, Standing Committee on Law and Justice.
- The Parliamentary Secretary for Finance presented the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Progress Report for the Year 2014-2016.
- The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs laid the Annual Report of the National Economic Council for the Financial Year, 2014-15.
- The House also witnessed presentation of periodical reports of two standing committees, which were presented by their Chairmen.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The House took up 18 out of 33 Starred Questions on the agenda. In addition, 22 supplementary questions were raised by the lawmakers.
- The House also took up two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) regarding high markup charged by Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited from farmers and incidents of harassment against female anchorpersons in Pakistan Television Network.
- The House did not take up a Motion of Thanks appearing on the agenda.
Order and Institutionalization
- The lawmakers spoke on nine Points of Order consuming 16 minutes of the proceedings.
- An Independent lawmaker pointed out quorum at 1223 hours which was found complete upon counting.
- MQM lawmakers walked out of the House at 1342 hours against the K-Electric for charging excessive bills from consumers. They did not return to the House until adjournment of the proceedings.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and public.
- The attendance of lawmakers was available to the media and observers.
This daily factsheet is based on direct observation of the National Assembly proceedings conducted by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). Errors and omissions are excepted.
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