ISLAMABAD, April 8, 2010: The National Assembly took only 15 hours over during three sittings to pass the 102 amendments to the Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Bill, 2010, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the Third Sitting of 21st Session of the National Assembly Proceedings.
The National Assembly met for 7 hours and 40 minutes on Thursday, the third sitting of the 21st Session. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 07 hours and 40 minutes.
- The third sitting started at 1130 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours – late by 90 minutes.
- The House took a break of an hour and 19 minutes on the account of Prayers and Lunch.
- The Speaker of the House was present and chaired the entire sitting. The Deputy Speaker was also present during the course of the sitting.
- The Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition attended the entire sitting.
- Parliamentary leaders of MMAP, NPP and BNPA remained absent from the sitting, while the leaders of PML, MQM, ANP, PPPS and PMLF were present.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, ANP, MMAP, PPPS, ANP, and PMLF were present, while the Chief Whips of NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 265 members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 292 members were present at the end of the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There was no other business on the Orders of the Day for second sitting.
- The Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Bill, 2010 was further discussed during the course of the sitting and was accepted by the House unanimously.
- There were 6 proposed amendments by members of PML and PMLN which were outrightly rejected by the Lower House.
Order and institutionalization
- 3 Points of Order were raised, taking up 5 minutes of the House proceedings. However, they didn’t require Speaker’s ruling.
- There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
- There were two instances of Walkout during the course of the sitting while voting on various clauses of the bill. 5 Members of PMLN walked out over the issue of renaming ‘NWFP as Khyber Pakhtoonkhwah’. On the second occasion another member of PMLN staged a walkout in protest for not getting the ruling to speak on the Point of Order.
- Orders of the Day was 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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