ISLAMABAD, December 21, 2012: The 10th and the last sitting of the 48th session of the National Assembly was marked by low members’ attendance as the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Speaker, Deputy Speaker along with the parliamentary leaders of MQM, MMAP, ANP, PMLF and BNPA did not attend the sitting.
Fourteen percent members (48 MPAs) were present at the outset while 11% (38 MPAs) were observed at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 95 members were present at one point of the sitting.
The entire sitting, which started 45 minutes late and lasted for an hour and 34 minutes, was chaired by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons.
A report by the Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges’ regarding a question of privilege and an annual report of the Federal Public Service Commission for the year 2011, were presented.
Eight of 27 starred questions on the agenda received replies by the relevant ministry. Additionally 13 supplementary questions for further elucidation of the answers were also asked. The relevant minister was not present during the sitting.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for an hour and 34 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1115 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1030 hours, witnessing a delay of 45 minutes.
- A member of the Panel of Chairpersons chaired the entire sitting. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were not present.
- The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the parliamentary leaders of MQM, MMAP, ANP, PMLF and BNPA (single member party) did not attend the sitting.
- Only the Chief Whip of MMAP was present while those of PPPP, PMLN, MQM, ANP, PML and PMLF were absent.
- Forty-eight members (14% of the total membership) were present at the outset while 38 (11%) were observed at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 95 members (28%) were present at one point of the sitting.
- Six of ten minority members attended the sitting.
- Six members applied for leave.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Eight of the 27 starred questions (requiring oral responses) appearing on the orders of the day were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, 13 supplementary questions were asked.
- One of the two calling attention notices appearing on the agenda was taken up. The notice was about non-implementation of the traffic plan prepared by Islamabad Traffic Police to regulate traffic in Rawalpindi.
- The Standing Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges presented its report on a question of privilege which was raised by a PPPP member against the FIA officers.
- An annual report of the Federal Public Service Commission for the year 2011 was presented.
Order and Institutionalization
- Four points of order (POs) were raised which consumed nine minutes of the sitting time. None of the POs attracted chair’s formal ruling.
- There was no incident of protest, walkout or boycott.
- Orders of the day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was not available to observers and the public.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI); a member organization of FAFEN
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