ISLAMABAD, April 18, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 20 minutes during the 6th sitting of the ongoing 30th session. The sitting was marked by low Members’ attendance, with only 74 Members present at the outset and 98 were present when the sitting was adjourned.
The Members interrupted the regular proceedings of the sitting to raise a total of 10 Points of Order, which consumed 45% of the sitting time. The National Assembly did not debate on the Presidential Address during the course of the sitting.
The National Assembly passed the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011 during the sitting.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 70 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained present for 80 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM, NPP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not attend the sitting’s proceedings. Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 20 minutes.
- The sixth sitting started at 1720 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 80 minutes.
- A Member of the Panel of Chairpersons chaired the sitting for 25 minutes, while the remaining time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker. The Speaker was not present during the sitting.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 70 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 80 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of MQM, PPPS and NPP were present, while the leaders of MMAP, ANP, PML and PMLF were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, ANP and MQM were present, while the chief whips of MMAP, PMLF, BNPA and NPP were absent.
- A total of 74 (22%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 98 (29%) members at the end of the sitting.
- The House took a 25-minute break for prayers.
- As many as seven out of 10 minority members were present during the 6thsitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House did take up one Calling Attention Notice.
- The taken up CAN was regarding “closure of several projects for construction of roads worth billion of rupees because of non-payment of outstanding dues to contractors by the National Highway Authority”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Communications and was raised by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 19 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only nine were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- A total of 25 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the sixth sitting.
- The Election Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011was passed by the House during the course of the sitting.
- One Standing Committee report regarding the Pakistan Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, 2011 was presented to the House during the sitting.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 10 Points of Order were raised, consuming 90 minutes (45% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted the Speaker’s formal ruling.
- The National Assembly did not debate on the Presidential Address during the course of the sitting.
- Members of the PMLN staged a walkout over the disagreement on the Election Laws (Amendment) Bill. The Parliamentary Party walked out of the sitting at 2025 hours and did not return for the remaining proceedings of the day.
- 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 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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