National Assembly Continues Debate on Budget

ISLAMABAD, June 07, 2011: The National Assembly consumed 84% of third sitting time of the ongoing 31st session on debate upon Finance Bill 2011. Five members – two from PMLN and one each from PPPP, MQM and PMLF- spoke on the budgetary proposals for three hours and 25 minutes.

Those who spoke on the budget included parliamentary leaders of PMLF and MQM in the sitting that lasted four hours and five minutes. Although a total of 185 members (54%) participated in the sitting, only 75 members (22%) were present when the sitting started while 37 members (11%) were in the House when the sitting was adjourned.

The following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The National Assembly met for 4 hours and 05 minutes.
  • The sitting started at 1105 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by one hour and 05 minutes.
  • The Speaker of the House chaired the sitting for 83 minutes. The Deputy Speaker was not present during the proceedings.
  • Three Members of Panel of Chairpersons including Abdul Qadir Patel, Nadeem Afzal Gondal and Khush Bakht Shujaat chaired the proceedings of the House for 84, 60 and 18 minutes respectively.
  • The Prime Minister was present for 70 minutes while the Leader of the Opposition remained absent.
  • The Parliamentary leaders of the MQM, MMA, NPP, PPPS, BNPA and PMLF were present during the sitting while those of ANP and PML did not attend the sitting.
  • The Chief Whips of the PML, MMAP and ANP remained absent while those of PPPP, PMLN, MQM, PPPS, NPP, PMLF and BNPA were present.
  • A total of 75 (22%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 37 (11%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 185 (54%) members were present at one point of the sitting.
  • The Finance Minister was present in 3rd sitting.
  • Two members appealed for the leave to be absent from the proceedings of 3rd sitting.
  • A total of 8 out of 10 minority Members were present during the first sitting.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • The House took up both the Calling Attention Notices (CAN) listed on the Agenda.
  • The first CAN raised by five PPPP members was regarding rapid deforestation throughout Pakistan and was directed to Ministry of Environment.
  • The second CAN, raised by five PMLN members sought the attention of Minister of Water and Power on “increase in the tariff of electricity”.
  • Five Members took part in the debate on budgetary proposals. The Parliamentary Leaders of MQM and PMLF spoke on Finance Bill 2011 for 80 and 18 minutes respectively. A PPPP member concluded his speech, initiated in 2nd sitting, in 45 minutes, while two members of PMLN took 60 minutes to present their viewpoint on the budgetary proposals.

Order and Institutionalization

  • There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
  • There was no protest in the third sitting of 31st session.
  • The quorum was visibly lacking at some points of the sitting but it was not pointed out by any Member.
  • Before taking up any formal agenda, a PPPP and PMLN member pointed out the issue of guests coming to the House without entry passes. The Speaker assured that no member would be allowed to bring in guests by bypassing the formal procedure.


  • Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and others.
  • Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
  • The copies of the budget speech were available to the concerned.

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