ISLAMABAD, November 02, 2010: The second sitting of the 26th session was marked by low attendance of members, with only 42 members present at the outset and 63 present when the sitting the adjourned.
National Assembly left most of the agenda unaddressed for this Private Members’ Day and raised twenty-nine Points of Orders (POs) that took up 67 percent of the total sitting time.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 30 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. Only the Parliamentary Leaders of MMAP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of other Parliamentary Parties did not attend the proceedings.
The low-attendance sitting witnessed two walkouts by members of the MQM on the price hike of petroleum goods and by the ANP members on rising unemployment in their respective constituencies.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and 42 minutes.
- The second sitting started at 1030 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 30 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the sitting. The entire sitting was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 30 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- Only the Parliamentary Leaders of MMAP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of ANP, MQM, PML, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MMAP and ANP were present, while the chief whips of MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 42 (12%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 63 (18%) members at the end of the sitting.
- Ten members applied for leave to be absent from Tuesday’s sitting.
- As many as nine out of 10 minority members were present during the 2nd sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both the CANs.
- The first CAN was regarding “increase in the diseases of gastro/skin and dengue fever after floods”. The CAN was directed to the Ministry of Health and was moved by five members of PMLN.
- The second CAN on the Orders of the Day was regarding “non-initiation of tax reforms and non-resolution of the problems of circular debt in the energy sector” which was directed to the Ministry of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development. This CAN was moved by five members of the PMLN.
- There was no Question and Answer session as Tuesday’s sitting was a Private Members Day.
- There was one Private Members Bill on the Orders of the Day, which was not taken up by the House.
- One Standing Committee report was presented during the proceedings, regarding the Prevention of Anti- Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill, 2008.
Order and institutionalization
- 29 Points of Order was raised, consuming 108 minutes (67% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There was no adjournment motion raised during the course of the sitting.
- Two Matters of Public Importance regarding “the spread of fatal diseases caused by emission of radiation waves/signals from Mobile Telephone Towers installed in the populated areas in the country” and “rapid increase in the ratio of poverty” were debated upon during the sitting.
- There were two instances of walkouts during the sitting. On the first instance members of the ANP expressed their reservations and staged a five-minute token walkout on the issue of rising unemployment in their respective constituencies. On the second occurrence members of the MQM staged a walkout on the price hike of petroleum goods. The walkout lasted 10 minutes.
- 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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