ISLAMABAD, December 23, 2010: National Assembly met for three hours and 10 minutes during the 4th sitting of the 27th session. The sitting was marked by low attendance of the members with only 13% present at the beginning and 9% members present when the sitting was adjourned.
Almost half of the sitting time was consumed by Points of Order. Although the Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, this was not pointed out by any of the Members.
The National Assembly unanimously passed the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2008 and took up one Calling Attention Notice regarding power cut off, over billing and increase in tariff of electricity.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 36 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 35 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the ANP, MMAP and PPPS were present, whereas the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not turn up for the sitting’s proceedings. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 10 minutes.
- The fourth sitting started at 1050 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 50 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for 63 minutes, while the Deputy Speaker presided over the sitting for 20 minutes. The remaining time was chaired by two Members of Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 36 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 35 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leader of the ANP, MMAP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of MQM, PML, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML and ANP were present, while the chief whips of MMAP, MQM, PMLF, PPPS, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 45 (13%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 31 (9%) members at the end of the sitting.
- Eight members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- As many as six out of 10 minority members were present during the 4th sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The CAN was regarding the “power cut off, over billing and increase in tariff” which was directed to the Water and Power. This CAN was moved by four members of the MQM.
- A total of 30 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only four were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 23 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the fourth sitting.
- National Assembly unanimously passed the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2008 during the course of the sitting.
- Two Standing Committee reports regarding the Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2009 and a Question of Privilege were presented to the House.
Order and institutionalization
- 17 Points of Order were raised, consuming 94 minutes (49% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the fourth 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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