ISLAMABAD, March 07, 2013: Starting an hour and 30 minutes late, the 14th sitting of the 50th session was marked by low attendance. Only 98 members were present at the outset, 112 at the time of adjournment, whereas a maximum of 148 members were present at one point of sitting.
A PML minority member staged a walkout over members’ absence leaving the attendance short of the two-third majority required to support the Constitution (Twenty-third Amendment) Bill 2012 seeking the enhancement of minorities’ seats and other rights.
Two standing committee reports about the Cost and Management Accountants (Amendment) Bill 2013, and the Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 were presented.
The Speaker chaired the sitting for an hour and 29 minutes while the remaining proceedings were chaired by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons. The Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the parliamentary leaders of MQM, MMAP, ANP, PML, PMLF and BNPA did not attend the sitting.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and eight minutes. A 31-minute prayer break was taken during the proceedings.
- The sitting started at 1730 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600hours, witnessing a delay of an hour and30 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for an hour and 29 minutes while the remaining proceedings were chaired by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- The parliamentary leaders of only PPPS and NPP attended the sitting while those of MQM, MMAP, ANP, PML, PMLF and BNPAwere absent.
- The chief whips of PPPP, ANP andPML attended the sitting whereas those of PMLN,MQM, MMAP, PMLF and BNPAwere not present.
- Ninety-eightmembers (29% of the total membership) were present at the outset while 112(33%) were present at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 148 members (43%) were present at one point of sitting.
- Ten minority members attended the sitting.
- Eight members applied for leave.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Four of 14 questions appearing on the agenda were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministry. Additionally, 16 supplementary questions were asked.
- Two Calling Attention Notices appearing the agenda were taken up by the House. One of these was regarding lack of safety devices in imported vehicles, while the other raised the issue of waste, toxic gases and noise caused by industrial units in Sectors 1-9 and 1-10 of Islamabad.
- Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics, and Planning and Development presented two standing committee reports. One was about the Costand Management Accountants (Amendment) Bill 2013, and the other aboutthe Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012.
Order and Institutionalization
- Fivepoints of order raised consumed eightminutes of the sitting time.
- A PML minority member staged a three minute walkoutnear the end of the sitting protesting the absence of most parliamentary leaders and the members of the House from the proceedings.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’attendance was not available to observers and the public.
The 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
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