ISLAMABAD, May 11, 2011: The National Assembly met for three hours and 20 minutes with low Members’ attendance during the eighteenth sitting of the ongoing 30th session. A total of 74 Members were present at the outset, while 48 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.
A total of 50 questions were listed on the agenda to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 14 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
A total of five Members spoke on the Abbottabad incident for 54 minutes during the sitting.
The National Assembly unanimously passed the Carriage by Air Bill, 2010. The Prime Minister attended the sitting’s proceedings for 54 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 24 minutes. The Parliamentary Leaders of the NPP and PPPS were the only ones present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties remained absent.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The National Assembly met for three hours and 20 minutes.
- The eighteenth sitting started at 1735 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 35 minutes.
- The Speaker was not present during the course of the sitting. A Member of the Panel of Chairpersons chaired the sitting for 75 minutes, while the remaining time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 54 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition attended the sitting briefly for 24 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 and MQM were present, while the chief whips of the PMLF and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 74 (28%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 48 (14%) Members were present at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 188 Members (55%) was observed at one point of the sitting, when the Prime Minister was present.
- As many as two Members applied for leave of absence from the sitting.
- A total of six out of 10 minority Members were present during the 18th sitting.
- The House took a break for 25 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 both the CANs.
- The first CAN was regarding the “recovery of twelve abducted children from the custody of a fake NGO in Lahore”. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Interior and was moved by five Members of the PMLN.
- The other CAN was regarding the “non-spending of the amount allocated for the welfare of locals in District Ghotki and ignoring them in appointments in OGDC and Mari gas fields” which was directed to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources. This CAN was moved by five Members of the PPPP.
- A total of 50 questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only 14 were raised and responded to by the relevant minister.
- A total of 26 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the eighteenth sitting.
- The National Assembly unanimously passed the Carriage by Air Bill, 2010 during the course of the sitting.
Order and Institutionalization
- A total of five Points of Order were raised, consuming 12 minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Order raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- A total of five Members spoke on the Abbotabad incident for 54 minutes during the sitting. These included two Members of the PPPP and one Member each belonging to the PML and MMAP. An Independent Member also participated during the debates.
- There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts during the eighteenth 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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