Punjab Assembly: Low Attendance Persists

ISLAMABAD, December 28, 2012: Low attendance and key members’ absence continued to be the hallmark of the ongoing 43rd session of the Punjab Assembly as only five lawmakers were present at the outset and 27 at the time of adjournment of the 10th sitting. The Chief Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Speaker and the parliamentary leaders of PML, MMAP and PMLZ did not attend the sitting.

On the other hand, the Deputy Speaker attended and chaired the sitting, while the relevant minister was also present to respond to questions during question hour.

The House adopted a resolution condemning attacks on polio workers in Karachi, Peshawar and Charsadda, and urged the federal government and UNICEF to resume the polio campaign.

Further, the reports of development authorities under the Punjab Development of Cities Act 1976 for the year 2009-10 were laid and deliberated upon for 10 minutes.

Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The Punjab Assembly met for an hour and 56 minutes.
  • The sitting started at 1035 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 0900 hours, witnessing a delay of an hour and 35 minutes.
  • The Deputy Speaker chaired the entire sitting. The Speaker was not present.
  • The Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
  • The parliamentary leaders of PML, MMAP and PMLZ were not present.
  • Only five members were present at the outset while 27 were there at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 37 members were present at one point of sitting.
  • One minority legislator was present.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • Twelve of the 32 starred questions (requiring oral responses) appearing on the agenda were taken up and responded to by the relevant Minister. Additionally, 24 supplementary questions were asked.
  • An adjournment motion regarding demands of annual funds by the owner of a private school prior to sending board admissions of students of class 9th and 10th was raised and deferred till next sitting.

Output

  • A resolution condemning attacks on polio workers as well as calling upon the federal government and UNICEF to resume the polio campaign was adopted by the house.
  • Reports of development authorities under the Punjab Development of Cities Act 1976 for the year 2009-10 were laid and discussed by two MPAs for 10 minutes. 

Order and Institutionalization

  • Twelve points of order (POs) were raised which consumed 12 minutes.

•     There was no protest, boycott or walkout in the sitting.

Transparency

•     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.