ISLAMABAD, March 3, 2011: The ninth sitting of the ongoing 29th session of the National Assembly met for four hours and four minutes. The sitting, like many previous sittings of the current session was marked by low attendance of Members. A total of 84 Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while only 19 were present when the sitting was adjourned.
The National Assembly suspended the regular agenda to debate upon the assassination of the late Federal Minister for Minorities. As many as 24 Members spoke on the issue for 232 minutes. All the Parliamentary Parties staged a token walkout against the murder of the Federal Minister for Minorities that lasted three minutes.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting’s proceedings for 44 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the NPP and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties remained absent.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for four hours and four minutes.
- The ninth sitting started at 1102 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 62 minutes.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 161 minutes, while the remaining time was presided over by a Member of Panel of Chairpersons. The Speaker was not present during the sitting.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 44 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the NPP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of the PML, MMAP, ANP, PMLF and MQM were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP, MMAP, PMLF and BNPA were present, while the chief whip of the MQM was absent.
- A total of 84 (25%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 19 (6%) Members were present at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 188 Members (55%) was observed at one point of the sitting.
- A total of eight out of 10 minority Members were present during the 9th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day, which were not taken up during the sitting. The House suspended the regular agenda to debate upon the assassination of the late Federal Minister for Minorities.
- The Islamabad Consumers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2010 was not taken up during the sitting due to the debates on the assassination of the Federal Minister.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of two Points of Order were raised, consuming three minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- A total of 24 Members spoke on the issue of the terrorist attack which targeted the Federal Minister for Minorities, and he was subsequently killed. The Prime Minister and the Federal Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination along with seven Members of the PPPP, five Members of the PMLN, three Members of the PML, two Members each the ANP and MMAP and one Member of the MQM spoke on the subject. Two Independent Members also participated in the debates.
- All the Parliamentary Parties staged a walkout in protest against the killing of the Federal Minister for Minorities. The walkout lasted three minutes.
- 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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