ISLAMABAD, December 17, 2012: Starting an hour and 30 minutes late, the third sitting of the 43rd session witnessed low attendance of members. The house did not address most of the agenda items which appeared on the List of Business.
The house did not take up three bills – the Punjab Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Punjab Public Service Commission (Second Amendment) Bill 2012 and the Punjab government Servants Housing Foundation (Second Amendment) Bill 2012, three calling attention notices, and a motion under rule 244-A.
The Punjab Assembly is the largest legislature in the country with a membership of 371. Despite their responsibility to represent such a vast number of people, the attendance of members remained low. Only 28 members were present at the outset while 17 were there at the adjournment.
Additionally, the Chief Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Deputy Speaker did not attend the sitting.
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for two hours and 30 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1630 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 1500 hours. The proceedings started an hour and 30 minutes late.
- The speaker chaired the sitting for two hours while the remaining 30 minutes were presided over by a member of panel of chairpersons. The deputy speaker was absent.
- The chief minister and the leader of the opposition did not attend the sitting.
- The parliamentary leaders of PML, PMLF, PMLZ and MMAP attended the sitting.
- Twenty-eight members were present at the outset while 17 were there at the adjournment of the sitting. A maximum of 73 members were observed to be present at one point of the sitting.
- Two minority members attended the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Three calling attention notices appearing on the agenda were not taken up by the house.
- Eight out of 32 starred questions (requiring oral replies) were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, 21 supplementary questions were asked.
- Three standing committee reports were presented in the house.
- None of the three bills – the Punjab Boilers and Pressure Vessels (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Punjab Public Service Commission (Second Amendment) Bill 2012 and the Punjab government Servants Housing Foundation (Second Amendment) Bill 2012 – were taken up by the house.
- Two reports on the Orders of the Day – the financial statement of the government of the Punjab for the year 2006-07 and the financial statement of the government of the Punjab for the year 2007-2008 – were not presented.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 12 points of order consumed 17 minutes of the sitting time. None of the points of order attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
- A PPPP legislator staged a 45-minute walkout as the chair did not allow him to raise a point of order.
- 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 of the sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the legislators.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN, a member organization of FAFEN.
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