ISLAMABAD, November 08, 2010: The sixth sitting of the ongoing 26th session of the National Assembly met for three hours and 45 minutes. The long stretched sitting witnessed low attendance of members with 80 legislators present at the beginning of the sitting, while only 51 were present when the sitting was adjourned.
National Assembly unanimously passed the National Database and Registration Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2010 and took up both the Calling Attention Notices. However, more than half (53%) of the sitting time was consumed by lengthy discussions over Points of Order.
The boycott of the 26th session’s proceedings by the MQM members ended today. However, the members of the MQM staged a 5-minute token walkout against the increase in the prices of petroleum products.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 101 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 135 minutes. None of the Parliamentary Leaders attended the sixth sitting.
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 45 minutes.
- The sixth sitting started at 1750 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 50 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 101 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 135 minutes.
- None of the Parliamentary Leaders were present during the sitting.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PML, PMLN and ANP were present, while the chief whips of MMAP, MQM, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 80 (23%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 51 (15%) members were present at the end of the sitting.
- Eighteen members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of five out of 10 minority members were present during the 6th 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 prices of DAP fertilizer by Rs.600/- per bag”. The CAN was directed to the Ministry of Industries and Production and was moved by five members of PMLN.
- The other CAN on the Orders of the Day was regarding “shortage of gas in the country leading to massive industrial shut down” which was directed to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. This CAN was moved by four members of the PML.
- A total of 30 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 19 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the sixth sitting.
- National Assembly passed the National Database and Registration Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
- Two Standing Committee reports which were on the Orders of the Day were presented to the House.
Order and institutionalization
- 18 Points of Order were raised, consuming 120 minutes (53% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There was one admitted Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day regarding “the increase in the prices of petroleum products resulting in price-hike in the country”. The motion was debated upon during the sitting.
- There was one Motion Under Rule 259 regarding “Human Rights violations in the Occupied Kashmir”, which was not taken up by the House.
- There was an instance of a token walkout by members of the MQM. They protested against the increase in the prices of petroleum products. The walkout lasted 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 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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