Punjab Assembly: Five Bills Passed Despite Low Attendance

ISLAMABAD, January 07, 2013: Five bills were passed in the last sitting of the 43rd session of Punjab Assembly, which met for three hours and 45 minutes on Monday. Only 38 members were present at the start and 70 at the time of adjournment of the 14th sitting.

The Defence Housing Authority Rawalpindi Bill 2013, the Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Punjab Public Service Commission (Amendment) Bill 2012, the Punjab Social Services Board (Amendment) Bill 2012, and the Lahore Canal Heritage Park Bill 2012 were the bills passed by the assembly.

Three calling attention notices raising the incidents of robberies at Okara, Mianwali and Gulber, Lahore were also taken up by the house.

The Speaker chaired the entire sitting. The Chief Minister, the Deputy Speaker, and the parliamentary leader of PMLZ did not attend the sitting. The Leader of the Opposition attended the sitting for 59 minutes.

Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The Punjab Assembly met for three hours and 45 minutes including a prayer break of an hour and 15 minutes.
  • The sitting was started at 1630 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1500 hours, witnessing a delay of an hours and 30 minutes.
  • The Speaker chaired the entire sitting. The Deputy Speaker was not present.
  • The Chief Minister was not present while the Leader of the Opposition attended the sitting for 59 minutes.
  • Thirty-eight members were present at the outset, while 70 were there at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 113 members were present at one point of sitting.
  • Five minority legislators attended the sitting. 

Representation and Responsiveness

  • Nine of the 24 starred question (requiring oral responses) appearing on the agenda were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, 19 supplementary questions were asked.
  • Three of the six calling attention notices (CANs) appearing on the List of the Business were taken up by the house. These were about robberies at Mianwali, Okara and Gulberg, Lahore.

Output

  • Five bills appearing of the List of Business were taken up and passed by the house. These were: The Defence Housing Authority Rawalpindi Bill 2013, The Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2012, The Punjab Public Service Commission (Amendment) Bill 2012, The Punjab Social Services Board (Amendment) Bill 2012, and The Lahore Canal Heritage Park Bill 2012. 

Order and Institutionalization

•     Six points of order were raised which consumed 21 minutes of the sitting time.

  • The quorum (1/4th of the total membership required for proceedings) was pointed by a PPPP member followed by ringing of bells for five minutes and subsequent resumption of the proceedings.

 

Transparency

•     The List of Business was available to the legislators, observers and others.

•     Information about members’ attendance was unavailable to the observers and the public.

 

The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of Punjab Assembly proceedings conducted by PATTAN, a member organization of FAFEN.