ISLAMABAD, February 13, 2015: The National Assembly left its entire agenda unaddressed as low attendance and joint walkouts continued during the last sitting of the 18th session on Friday.
The session was prorogued when the quorum, pointed out by a lawmaker, was found to be incomplete upon counting. The sitting started 35 minutes behind the schedule with 67 lawmakers (20%) present at the start and 34 (10%) at the time of adjournment. The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader did not attend the sitting.
The agenda included two calling attention notices (CANs) regarding discontinuation of PIA flights to/from Barcelona and visa free entry for Afghan nationals in Pakistan (and vice versa). It also included two motions to debate the recent petrol crisis and problems being faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs).
In addition, the agenda comprised the presentation of the fiscal policy statement and debt policy statement for the year 2014-15 and the periodic reports of the Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research and Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination for December 2013 to June 2014.
Following are some key observations of the House proceedings:
Members’ Participation in the House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for an hour and 28 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1105 hours against the scheduled time of 1030 hours.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the entire sitting in the absence of Speaker.
- The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader did not attend the sitting.
- Sixty-seven members (20%) were present at the start and 34 (10%) at the end of the sitting.
- A maximum of 106 members (31%) were present at one point of the sitting.
- The parliamentary leaders of MQM, AMLP, JI, APML, QWP and PML-Z attended the sitting.
- Five minority members were present.
- Twenty-seven lawmakers applied for leave.
- The fiscal policy statement and debt policy statement for the year 2014-15 were not presented during the sitting.
- The periodic reports of the Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research and Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination for December 2013 to June 2014 were also not presented.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Ten out of 27 starred questions appearing on Orders of the Day were taken up and responded by the relevant ministries/departments. In addition, the MNAs raised 19 supplementary questions during the sitting.
- Two CANs regarding discontinuation of PIA flights to/from Barcelona and visa free entry for Afghan nationals in Pakistan (and vice versa) were not taken up.
- Similarly, two motions under Rule 259 to debate the recent petrol crisis and problems being faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) were also not taken up.
Order and Institutionalization
- Five points of order consumed 10 minutes of the sitting.
- Opposition members along with MQM lawmakers and the parliamentary leader of QWP walked out the sitting at 1228 hours and did not return till end of the sitting.
- A JI lawmaker pointed out the quorum at 1231 hours, following which the Chair ordered the bells to be rung for five minutes. The Chair ordered for the count twice but the quorum was found to be incomplete, which led to the session’s prorogation.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was not available to the observers and the public.
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This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of FAFEN and in no way reflect the views of the European Union. This 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. Errors and omissions are excepted.
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