ISLAMABAD, April 20, 2011: The National Assembly met for four hours and 15 minutes with low Members’ attendance during the eighth sitting of the ongoing 30th session. A total of 68 Members were present at the outset, while 72 were present when the sitting was adjourned. The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting, but it was not pointed out by any of the Members.
As many as 12 Points of Order were raised, consuming 55% of the sitting time. However, none of these Points of Order attracted Speaker’s formal ruling.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting’s proceedings for 27 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 131 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the NPP and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties remained absent. The parliamentary party of the PMLN staged a walkout against ‘no actions or policies being devised by the Government for the putting a halt to Drone Attacks’.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for four hours and 15 minutes.
- The eighth sitting started at 1640 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings started late by 40 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the course of the sitting. A Member of Panel of Chairpersons chaired the sitting for 40 minutes, while the remaining time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 27 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition attended the sitting for 131 minutes.
- The Parliamentary Leaders of the NPP and PPPS were present, while the leaders of the PML, MMAP, ANP, PMLF, MQM and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN PML, ANP, MMAP, PMLF and MQM were present, while the chief whip of BNPA were absent.
- A total of 68 (20%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 72 (21%) Members were present at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 212 Members (62%) was observed at one point of the sitting, when the Prime Minister was present.
- A total of 15 Members applied for leave of absence from the sitting.
- A total of seven out of 10 minority Members were present during the 8th sitting.
- The House took two breaks for 20 and 23 minutes on the account for prayers.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day. The House took up one CAN.
- The taken up CAN was regarding “illegal occupation of Government quarters in Islamabad by non-entitled department’s officials, like WAPDA, PTCL, and police”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Housing and Works and moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- A total of 31 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 11 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 22 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the eighth sitting.
- The House did not take up the sole Bill which appeared on the Orders of the Day.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of 12 Points of Order were raised, consuming 141 (55%) minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- The National Assembly did not debate on the Presidential Address during the course of the sitting.
- Members of the PMLN staged a walkout against ‘no actions or policies being devised by the Government for the putting a halt to Drone Attacks’. The walkout lasted 13 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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