ISLAMABAD, June 15, 2012: On the fourth day of general discussion on the budget in the Punjab Assembly, only 12 legislators (three percent of the total membership) were present in the House at the start of the sitting and 17 when it was adjourned on Friday.
The Chief Minister was absent for the eight time during this session. He only attended the sitting on last Saturday when the budget was presented. The Leader of the Opposition along with the parliamentary leaders of MMAP, PMLF and PMLZ were also absent from the proceedings.
A maximum of 46 legislators were observed to be present at one point of the sitting. The Punjab Assembly is the largest legislature in Pakistan with a current total membership of 369.
The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the Members.
A total of 12 Members – five PPPP, four PMLN and three PML legislators – spoke on the budget for 126 minutes (92%) of the sitting time.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for two hours and 17 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1015 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 0900 hours. The proceedings started an hour and 15 minutes late.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for an hour and 43 minutes while the remaining time was presided over by Member of Panel of Chairpersons. The Deputy Speaker was absent.
- The Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
- Only the parliamentary leader of PML was present while the leaders of PMLF, MMAP and PMLZ were absent.
- Only 12 Members (3% of the total Membership of 369) were present at the start while 17 (5%) were there when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 46 (12%) were present at one point of the sitting.
- Five minority Members were present.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The Minister for Finance presented the Annual Budget Statement on June 9, 2012.
- A total of 12 Members – five PPPP, four PMLN and three PML legislators – spoke on the budget for 126 minutes (92%) of the sitting time.
- There was no other formal agenda on the Orders of the Day.
Order and Institutionalization
- No Points of Order consumed two minutes of sitting time.
- There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts.
- 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 of the sitting. It was not pointed out by any of the Members.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN Development Organization, a member organization of FAFEN
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