ISLAMABAD, June 22, 2013: Fifty-eight members took part in general discussion on budget in the fourth sitting of the Punjab Assembly’s second session on Saturday, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its daily factsheet based on the direct observation of the proceedings. The sitting lasted six hours and 25 minutes.
Most of the members taking part in the budget debate belonged to PMLN – 53. Meeting for six hours and 25 minutes, the sitting was marked by low attendance as 70 members were present at the outset while 30 were there at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 134 members were present at one point of sitting.
The quorum was pointed out thrice in the sitting. A PTI member pointed out quorum but the required number of members was found present. A female PML MPA pointed out the quorum twice, followed by the ringing of bells for five minutes on each occasion. The sitting resumed on both occasions as the one-fourth members of the total membership were present.
The PML female lawmaker who pointed out quorum twice walked off the House declaring attitude of the treasury benches as non-serious. She did not return to attend the remaining proceedings.
Following are some key observations of the proceedings:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Punjab Assembly met for six hours and 25 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1035 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours, witnessing a delay of 35 minutes.
- The Speaker chaired the sitting for two hours and 26 minutes while the Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for three hours and 59 minutes.
- A total of 70 members were present at the outset while 30 were there at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 134 members were present at one point of sitting.
- The Chief Minister did not attend the sitting while the Leader of the Opposition attended the sitting for 24 minutes.
- The finance minister attended the sitting for five hours and 15 minutes.
- Three minority members attended the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- As many as 58 MPAs – 53 of PMLN, four of PTI and one PML – took part in budget debate. They discussed the budgetary proposals for five hours and 38 minutes.
Order and Institutionalization
- Eighteen Points of Order consumed eight minutes of the sitting time.
- The quorum was pointed out thrice in the sitting. A PTI member pointed out quorum but the required number of members found present. A female PML MPA pointed out the quorum twice, followed by the ringing of bells for five minutes on each occasion. As the one-fourth members of the total membership were present following the ringing of bells, the proceedings resumed on both occasions.
- The PML female lawmaker, who pointed out quorum twice, walked off the House at 1438 declaring attitude of the treasury benches as non-serious. She did not return to attend the remaining proceedings..
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was recorded but not available to the observers and the public.
- Copies of the budget speech were available to the legislators.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN, a member organization of FAFEN
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