ISLAMABAD, February 3, 2021: The 26th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2020 could not sail through the National Assembly due to lack of required numbers of lawmakers as the Opposition demanded consensus through debate before passage of the bill, observers Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on Wednesday.
Following are key observations of the proceedings during seventh sitting of the 28th session:
- The National Assembly met for four hours and 12 minutes; however, the proceedings remained suspended for an hour and eight minutes due to a prayer and two casual breaks.
- The sitting started at 1427 hours against the scheduled time of 1400 hours.
- The Speaker presided over the sitting for two hours and 27 minutes while remaining sitting was chaired by the Deputy Speaker.
- The Leaders of the House (Prime Minister) and the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- As many as 52 (15%) lawmakers were present at the outset and 106 (31%) at the adjournment of the sitting.
- The parliamentary leaders of JWP, AMLP, BAP, GDA, MMAP and PML attended the sitting.
- Seven minority lawmakers were present.
- Three Ordinances were laid in the House which included the Employees’ Old-Age Benefits (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020; the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 and the National Institute of Health (Re-Organization) Ordinance, 2020.
- The Chair referred two bills to relevant standing committees which were the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
- The Constitution (Twenty-sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020, was moved by the Minister for Law and Justice as approved by the relevant Standing Committee. The bill mainly seeks Senate elections through open ballot, however, the House did not take up the motion for its passage due to the protest of lawmakers belonging to both sides of the aisle. Two-third majority is mandatory in the National Assembly (226 of the total membership – 342) for the approval of a bill seeking amendment in the Constitution.
- The House did not consider two other bills as reported by the relevant standing committees, a motion of thanks to the President, seven periodical reports and a Calling Attention Notice.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Minister for Interior responded to a Calling Attention Notice regarding impact on economic as well as social activities due to closure of Pakistan-Afghanistan Border.
- The House did not hold debate on an admitted adjournment motion regarding increase in prices of electricity.
- Four lawmakers spoke on the Constitution (twenty-sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020 for 55 minutes. However, they mainly highlighted political issues during their speeches.
- The House took up nine out of 28 starred questions appearing on the agenda while lawmakers asked 19 supplementary questions.
Order and Institutionalization
- Four lawmakers including Ministers for Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, Science and Technology and Parliamentary Leader of MMAP spoke on points of order for 12 minutes.
- PML-N lawmakers pointed out the quorum thrice after walkout by the opposition but it was found complete on all occasions.
- The House was adjourned the meet again on February 4, 2021 (Thursday) at 1100 hours.
- Orders of the Day was available to legislators, observers and public.
- Attendance of lawmakers was available to media and observers.
This daily factsheet is based on direct observation of the National Assembly proceedings conducted by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). Errors and omissions are excepted
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