ISLAMABAD, February 1, 2012: The National Assembly deferred the Constitution (Twentieth Amendment) Bill, 2012 till tomorrow during its first sitting of the 39th session on Wednesday.
The sitting spanning two hours and 15 minutes was marked by low attendance with 32 Legislators present at the start and 131 were there when the session adjourned.
Two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) and a standing committee report on the Constitution (Twentieth Amendment) Bill, 2012 appearing on the Orders of the Day were taken up by the House.
Though 17 Points of Order which consumed 50% of the sitting time, none of them attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for only five minutes while the Leader of the Opposition was not present. The parliamentary leaders of the PML, PPPS, NPP and PMLF attended the proceedings.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for two hours and 15 minutes.
- The First sitting started at 1725 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The proceedings started 25 minutes late.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting.
- The Prime Minister was present for only five minutes. The Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the PML, PPPS, NPP, and PMLF were present, while those of the MMAP, BNPA, PMLN, MQM, and the ANP were absent.
- The Chief Whips of ANP, PMLN, PML, MQM, PPPS, NPP and PPPP were present, while those of the MMAP, BNPA and PMLF were absent.
- Thirty-two Legislators (10%) were present at the outset of the sitting while there were 131 MNAs (39%) at the end of the sitting. A maximum of 176 Members were present at one point of the sitting.
- Two Members applied for leave to be absent.
- The entire minority Members were present.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The House took up two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) which appeared on the Orders of the Day.
- The first CAN, moved by five PMLN Members – three males and two females – was about “non-exploring gas reserves in the country”, which was directed to Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources.
- Moved by four PPPP and one PML Members – two males and three females – the second notice was about “non-holding meeting of Federal Drug Regulatory Agency” it was directed to the Cabinet Secretariat.
- The House took a 27-minute break for the prayers.
- There was no Question Hour.
- The Lower House Deferred the Constitution (Twentieth Amendment) Bill, 2012 till Thursday.
- A standing committee report on the Constitution (Twentieth Amendment) Bill, 2012 was presented in the House.
Order and institutionalization
- Seventeen Points of Order were raised which consumed 67 minutes (50% of the sitting time). However, none of the Points of Order attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
- Members of PMLN and MQM protested against increase in prices of petroleum products. The protest lasted 13 minutes.
- Members of MQM were also protested against the target killing in Karachi for five 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 Member.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a Member organization of FAFEN.
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