ISLAMABAD, March 18, 2010: The Sixth Sitting of the 20th Session was marked by low attendance of Legislators with 78 members present at the outset. The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 17 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was absent, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on Sixth Sitting of 20th Session of the National Assembly Proceedings
The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for 03 hours and 09 minutes.
- The sixth sitting started at 1657 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 57 minutes.
- The Speaker of the House chaired the sitting for 88 minutes, while Mr. Abdul Qadir Patel (Panel of Chairpersons) chaired for 56 minutes. The Deputy Speaker remained absent during the course of the sitting.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 17 minutes. However, the Leader of Opposition was absent.
- Parliamentary leaders of PML, PMLF and PPPS were present, while the leaders of NPP, MMAP, MQM, ANP and BNPA remained absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, PPPS, PMLF, and were present, while the Chief Whips of MMAP, ANP, MQM, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The House took a 45-minute break for prayers.
- Seventeen members appealed for leave to be absent from the sitting.
- A total of 78 members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 120 members remained present at the end of the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The Calling Attention Notice taken up by the House was directed to the Ministry of Defense. The other CAN was directed to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources
- The taken up CAN was tabled by 5 members belonging to PPPP.
- A total of 23 questions were listed on the agenda to be taken up during the Question Hour. However, only 8 questions were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- The only bill on the Orders of the Day [The National Defense University Bill, 2009] was not taken up by the House.
Order and institutionalization
- 13 Points of Order were raised, taking up 56 minutes of the House proceedings. However, none of them required Speaker’s ruling.
- There was no Adjournment Motion on the Orders of the Day
- There was one instance of Protest by the members of ANP, over an argument with PMLN legislators on the issue of “NWFP Pathans being affiliated or termed as terrorists by the Punjab Government”.
- Orders of the Day was 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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