Punjab Assembly: Local Government Bill Passed

ISLAMABAD, August 21, 2013: The Punjab Assembly passed the Punjab Local Government Bill 2013 amid the opposition’s protest in the seventh sitting of the fourth session on Wednesday.

Seventeen legislators debated the Local Government Bill during the sitting which lasted for eight hours and 10 minutes. The legislators on the opposition benches attended the sitting wearing black arm bands in protest against the Punjab Local Government Bill 2013.

The Speaker chaired the sitting for seven hours and 33 minutes while the Deputy Speaker presided for 37 minutes. The Chief Minister did not attend the sitting while the Leader of Opposition was present for three hours and 47 minutes.

After a PTI Member pointed out the quorum, the bells were rung for six minutes.

Out of seven starred questions on the agenda, six were taken up. Additionally 11 supplementary questions were asked.

Following are some key observations of the House proceedings:

Members’ Participation in House Proceedings

  • The Punjab Assembly met for eight hours and 10 minutes.
  • A 30-minute delay was witnessed as the sitting started at 1030 hours against the scheduled start time of 1000 hours.
  • Forty-three Members were present at the outset of the sitting and 95 at the end. At one point, a maximum of 154 Members were present in the sitting.
  • A PTI Member pointed out the quorum and the bells were rung for six minutes.
  • The Speaker chaired the sitting for seven hours and 33 minutes. The Deputy Speaker chaired the sitting for 37 minutes.
  • The Chief Minister did not attend the sitting while the Leader of Opposition was present for three hours and 47 minutes.
  • Parliamentary Leaders of JI and PPPP attended the sitting.
  • None of Members applied for leave.
  • Five Minority Members were present.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • Out of seven starred questions on the Orders of the Day, six were taken up. Relevant Minister responded to the six questions. Additionally 11 supplementary questions were asked.
  • The Punjab Local Government Bill 2013 was passed amid protest by the Opposition parties. Seventeen Members including the Law Minister debated the Local Government bill.

Order and Institutionalization

  • MPAs spoke on five Point of Orders consuming 15 minutes of the sitting.
  • Four instances of protests, walkouts and boycott were observed during the sitting. The opposition legislators attended the sitting wearing black armbands in protest against the Punjab Local Government Bill 2013. A PML-N MPA walked out for two minutes over the long duration of the sitting. The legislators on the opposition benches staged a 20-minute walkout saying the Speaker was siding with the government stance over the resolution on condemning the drone attacks. The opposition parties walked out at 3:10pm saying the Law Minister was misinterpreting the rules of the assembly. They did not return to attend the rest of the proceedings except the one PTI Member who pointed out the quorum.

Transparency

  • Orders of the Day was available to the legislators, observers and others.
  • Information on Senators’ attendance was not available 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