ISLAMABAD, February 23, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 38 minutes during the third sitting of the ongoing 29th session. The sitting witnessed low attendance of Members, with only 21 Members present at the outset and 38 were present when the sitting was adjourned.
Although the Quorum was visibly lacking at various sitting of the sitting, this was not pointed out by any of the Members. The House debated on the Adjournment Motion regarding the Law and Order situation in the country for 66 minutes.
The National Assembly did not take up the Federal Board of Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting. A total of 18 Points of Order were raised consuming 25% of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised attracted Speaker’s formal ruling.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 50 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition was not present. The Parliamentary Leaders of the MMAP, MQM and PPPS were the only ones 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 38 minutes.
- The third sitting started at 1100 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 60 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the initial 91 minutes of the sitting, while the Deputy Speaker presided over the remaining 127 minutes.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 50 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was not present.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the MQM, MMAP and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of the PML, ANP, PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PMLN, MQM, PML, PMLF and MMAP were present, while the chief whips of the ANP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 21 (6%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 38 (11%) Members at the end of the sitting.
- As many as eight out of 10 minority Members were present during the 3rd sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up both the CANs.
- The first taken up CAN was regarding the “deteriorating condition of Pakistan Railways”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Railways and was moved by five Members of the PPPP.
- The other CAN was regarding the “non-completion of road projects of billions of rupees due to non-payment of outstanding dues to the contractors by the National Highway Authority” which was directed to the Ministry of Communication. This CAN was sponsored by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 24 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only six were raised and responded to by the relevant minister
- A total of 19 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the third sitting.
- The National Assembly did not take up the Federal Board of Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
Order and institutionalization
- A total of 18 Points of Order were raised, consuming 55 (25%) minutes of the sitting time. 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 “Law and Order situation prevailing in the country”, which was debated upon for 66 minutes during the course of the sitting. A total of four Members spoke of the issue (one Member each of the PMLN, PML, MQM and PPPP)
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the third 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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