ISLAMABAD, May 3, 2010: The 22nd Session of the National Assembly started here on May 3, 2010, with 38 members present at the outset. The Quorum was lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, the lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the legislators, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on First Sitting of 22nd Session of the National Assembly Proceedings.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 03 hours and 35 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1725 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 25 minutes.
- The House took a break of 37 minutes on the account of prayers.
- The Speaker of the House chaired the sitting for 52 minutes, while the Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 126 minutes.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 95 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition was present for 50 minutes.
- Parliamentary leaders of PML, MQM, ANP, NPP, MMAP and BNPA were absent, while only the leader of PPPS was present
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN and PML were present, while the chief whips of MQM, ANP, MMAP, PPPS, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- Thirteen members appealed for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of 38 members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 32 members at the end of the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. Both the CANs were taken up by the House.
- The first Calling Attention Notice taken up by the House was directed to the Cabinet Secretariat regarding ‘conversion of green belts adjacent to the office buildings of the Federal Capital Islamabad into parking lots depriving pedestrians of walkways and posing environmental hazard’ .This CAN was raised by 4 PPPP members.
- The other CAN, taken up by the House was directed to the Ministry of Health regarding ‘rapid increase of the disease of tuberculosis (T.B) in the country despite allocation of billions of funds’. This was raised by 5 PMLN members.
- A total of 21 questions were listed on the agenda to be taken up during the Question Hour. However, only 7 questions were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- There was only one bill [The National Defence University Bill, 2009] on the Orders of the Day, which was not taken up by the House.
Order and institutionalization
- 20 Points of Order was raised, taking up 87 minutes of the House proceedings. However, it didn’t require Speaker’s ruling.
- There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day.
- There were two instances of walkouts during the course of the sitting. On the first occasion members of PMLN, PML and PPPS staged a token walkout on the “current situation of the country”. The walkout lasted for 5 minutes. On the second instance a member of PPPP boycotted the sitting on the issue of “Wheat Harvesting”.
- Orders of the Day was 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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