ISLAMABAD, March 25, 2015: The National Assembly passed two government bills amid low attendance of lawmakers on Wednesday, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN).
The sitting started 27 minutes behind the schedule with 49 lawmakers (14%) present at the start and 45 (13%) at the time of adjournment. The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, however, it was not pointed out by any of the lawmakers. The Prime Minister did not attend the sitting, while the Opposition Leader was present for one hour and ten minutes.
The House passed the Credit Bureaus Bill 2015 which was introduced on February 7, 2014. The bill provides comprehensive legal and regulatory framework for incorporation and functioning of credit bureaus in Pakistan.
Additionally, the House passed the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill 2014 which was introduced on August 7, 2014. The bill amends Sections 41 and 54 of the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973 to further regulate disciplinary proceedings in case of grave professional misconduct and to prescribe a period for expeditious disposal of complaints.
The House also took up two calling attention notices (CANs) regarding difficulties faced by people in Haripur due to ongoing construction work at Tarbela Dam and lack of transparency in LNG import. On the other hand, a motion under Rule 259 to discuss the energy crisis and petrol shortage in the country left unaddressed.
The following are some key observations of the House proceedings:
Members’ Participation in the House Proceedings:
- The National Assembly met for two hours and eight minutes.
- The sitting began at 1127 hours against the scheduled time of 1100 hours.
- The Speaker chaired the entire sitting, while the Deputy Speaker was absent.
- The Prime Minister did not attend the sitting.
- The Opposition Leader was present for 70 minutes.
- 49 lawmakers (14%) were present at the start and 45 (13%) at the end of the sitting.
- A maximum of 130 members (38%) attended the sitting.
- The parliamentary leaders of PML, PkMAP, QWP, JI, ANP, MQM and BNP were present.
- Six minority members attended the sitting.
- Eleven members applied for leave.
- The House passed the Credit Bureaus Bill 2015 and the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill 2014.
- The Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill 2014 was not taken up.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Two CANs – one regarding difficulties faced by people in Haripur due to ongoing construction work at Tarbela Dam and lack of transparency in LNG import – were taken up during the sitting.
- Thirteen out of 36 questions were taken up and responded by the relevant ministry/department, while the MNAs raised another 11 supplementary questions.
Order and Institutionalization
- Nine points of orders (POs) consumed 15 minutes (12%) of the sitting.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was not shared with observers and the public.
- The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the lawmakers.
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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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