ISLAMABAD, September 12, 2011: The seventh sitting of the National Assembly’s 45th session, which met for three hours and 15 minutes, left most of the agenda unaddressed including four bills.
The four bills on the orders of the day which were not taken up included the Charter of Child Rights Bill 2009 and the Abolition of Discretionary Quotas in Housing Schemes Bill 2011 along with the Federal Pension Bill 2012 and the Registration of Hajj Bill 2008.
Six resolutions on the agenda were also not taken up for debate. However the House adopted a resolution moved by a PPPP legislator on having “ramps, railings and elevators” in all public buildings including the Parliament House and the Parliament Lodges to “making them accessible for individuals with physical disabilities”.
The House also did not discuss two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on delay in the payment of scholarships by Higher Education Commission to students studying abroad and forced retirement and transfer of 15,000 PTCL employees to far flung areas in the country.
The sitting witnessed low attendance. Only 31 legislators were present at the outset and 84 at the end of the sitting. ANP parliamentarians continued boycott of the proceedings over the issuance of local government ordinance in Sindh.
Eleven out of 19 questions were taken up and responded to by the relevant Minister.
Additionally 23 supplementary questions were asked.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 15 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1045 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The proceedings started late by 45 minutes.
- The Deputy Speaker presided over the sitting for 30 minutes while the remaining time presided over by the Speaker and the Members of Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Prime Minister and the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the BNPA, PPPS and NPP were present.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN, PML and MQM were present.
- Thirty one (9%) Members were present at the outset, while 84 (25%) Members were present at the end of the sitting.
- Maximum presence of 118 Members (35%) was observed at one point of the sitting.
- Fifteen Members applied for leave.
- All Minority Members were present during the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the orders of the day regarding delay in the payment of scholarships by HEC to students studying abroad and forced retirement and transfer of 15,000 PTCL employees to far flung areas in the country were not taken up by the House.
- Eleven out of 19 questions were taken up and responded by the relevant Minister. Additionally 23 supplementary questions were asked.
- Four bills – the Federal Pension Bill 2012, the Registration of Hajj Bill 2008, the Abolition of Discretionary Quotas in Housing Schemes Bill 2011, the Charter of Child Rights Bill, 2009 were not taken up by the House.
- Six Resolutions on the orders of the day were not taken up by the House. However a resolution moved by a female PPPP Member on “given that a considerable percentage of Pakistan’s population comprises of people with some form of physical disability may it be a result of polio, old age or any other reason, and as the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees equal opportunities to all its citizens, this House resolves that all public buildings, including the Parliament House Building and Parliament Lodges, must be equipped with ramps, railings and elevators, making them accessible for individuals with physical disabilities” was adopted.
- Eight Motions under rule 259 on the agenda were not taken up by the House.
- Five Standing Committee reports were not presented before the House.
Order and Institutionalization
- Forty six points of order were raised, consuming an hour and 53 minutes (58% of total sitting time). However, none of them attracted the Speaker’s ruling.
- ANP parliamentarians continued boycott of the proceedings over the issuance of local government ordinance in Sindh.
- Orders of the Day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a member organization of FAFEN.
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