ISLAMABAD, April 13, 2011: The National Assembly met for four hours and 17 minutes during the third sitting of the ongoing 30th session and debated upon the presidential address. The sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 48 Members present at the outset and 30 at the end.
Member of the National Assembly raised a total of eight Points of Order which consumed 26% of the sitting time. However, none of these Points of Orders raised attracted the Speaker’s formal ruling.
Although the quorum was visibly lacking at various sitting of the sitting, this was not pointed out by any of the Members. A total of five Members spoke on the Presidential Address for 64 minutes.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 25 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition was present for 68 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the PML, MQM, PPPS and NPP were the only ones present, whereas the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not turn up for the sitting’s proceedings. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for four hours and 17 minutes.
- The third sitting started at 1632 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 32 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the course of the sitting. A Member of Panel of Chairpersons chaired the sitting for 37 minutes, while the remaining time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 25 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 68 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the PML, MQM, NPP and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of the MMAP, ANP, PMLF and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN, ANP, PML, PMLF and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of the MQM and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 48 (14%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 30 (9%) Members at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 197 Members (58%) was observed at one point of the sitting.
- The House took two breaks for 21 minutes and 30 minutes on the account for prayers.
- As many as seven out of 10 minority Members were present during the 3rd sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The taken up CAN was regarding the “stoppage of 1300 development schemes under PSDP due to non-availability of funds” which was directed to the Ministry of Finance, Revenue, Statistics, Economic Affairs & Planning and Development. This CAN was sponsored by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 31 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 12 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- A total of 26 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the third sitting.
- There were no bills on the Orders of the Day.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of eight Points of Order were raised, consuming 66 (26%) minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- The National Assembly debated on the Presidential Address for a total of 64 minutes. As many as five Members spoke on the President’s speech, which included two Members of the PPPP, and one Member each of the PML, MQM and PMLN
- An Independent Member staged a walkout against ‘no actions or policies being devised by the Government for the putting a halt to Drone Attacks in FATA’. 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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