ISLAMABAD, June 29, 2010: National Assembly in the twentieth sitting met for a total of 02 hours and 28 minutes with low presence of members. There were only 35 members present at the outset, while 64 were present at the end. The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but the lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the members, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the National Assembly Proceedings.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 02 hours and 28 minutes.
- The twentieth sitting started at 1130 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1100 hours. The House proceedings started late by 30 minutes.
- The entire sitting was presided over by a Member of Panel of Chairpersons, except for the last 16 minutes which were chaired by the Speaker. The Deputy Speaker remained absent in today’s proceedings.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 20 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
- Parliamentary leader of only PMLF was present while the leaders of PML, MQM, ANP, NPP, MMAP, PPPS and BNPA were absent
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, MQM and ANP were present, while the chief whips of PML, PPPS, MMAP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- Seven members appealed for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of 35(10%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 64 (19%) members at the end of the sitting.
- As many as eight minority members were present during the 20th 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 Ministry of Human Rights regarding ‘committing of suicides by the people due to unemployment, price-hike and poverty’ .This CAN was raised by 5 PMLN members.
- The other CAN, taken up by the House was directed to the Ministry of Religious Affairs regarding the ‘19% increase in the fares of PIA for Hajj’. This CAN was also raised by 5 PMLN members.
- There were nine Bills on the Orders of the Day. The Political Parties Order (Amendment) Bill, 2010 which was introduced by a female parliamentarian of PPPP was taken up by the House and sent to its respective Standing Committee. The Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) (Amendment) Bill, 2010 introduced by 5 members of PML was also taken up by the House and sent to its respective Standing Committee for consideration. The remaining seven bills were deferred, as the prime movers of the bills were not present
- There were five resolutions on Orders of the Day, but none were taken up the House
Order and institutionalization
- 37 Points of Order was raised, taking up 105 minutes of the House proceedings. However, it didn’t require Speaker’s ruling.
- There was neither an Adjournment Motion scheduled on Orders of the Day, nor was one raised in today’s proceedings.
- There was no instance of protest, boycott or walkout during the course of the sitting.
- 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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