ISLAMABAD, December 10, 2014: Starting 48 minutes behind schedule, the fourth sitting of the Punjab Assembly’s 11th session witnessed the passage of two bills as low attendance of lawmakers persisted, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its daily factsheet.
The House passed the Punjab Explosives (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Punjab Arms (Amendment) Bill 2014 which were both introduced by the Punjab Law Minister.
Only 20 (5%) members were present at the outset and 93 (25%) at the adjournment of the sitting. The quorum was pointed out once by an independent lawmaker, following which the Chair ordered the bells to be rung for five minutes. However, the quorum was found complete to be upon counting.
The Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader did not attend the sitting which was chaired by the Deputy Speaker.
The House approved a motion to extend the period for presentation of the Punjab Accounts Committee-II report for another two months.
Following are some key observations of the proceedings:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings:
- The Punjab Assembly met for two hours and six minutes.
- The sitting started at 1048 hours against the scheduled time of 1000 hours, witnessing a delay of 48 minutes.
- Twenty members (5%) were present at the outset and 93 (25%) at the adjournment of the sitting. A maximum of 102 members (27%) were observed to be present at one point of the sitting.
- The Deputy Speaker chaired the entire sitting.
- The Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader were absent.
- Among parliamentary leaders, only the JI leader was present.
- Two minority members attended the sitting.
- None of the member applied for leave.
- The House passed the Punjab Explosives (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Punjab Arms (Amendment) Bill 2014 which were both introduced by the Punjab Law Minister.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Twelve out of 38 starred questions appearing on the agenda were answered by the relevant department while 23 supplementary questions were raised by the MPAs.
- The House took up five adjournment motions regarding monitoring of private educational institutions; explosion of CNG cylinder in a passenger van in Chiniot; imposition of fee by the Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISEs) to attain certificates; increase in paper rechecking fee by BISEs; and non-availability of injections at hospitals for prevention of hepatitis.
- A PML-N lawmaker moved a privilege motion against the lifting of her car by the City Traffic Police from outside a shopping mall in Lahore. The motion was referred to the relevant committee.
- Another privilege motion moved by a PML-N lawmaker against DCO Pakpattan was also taken up and referred to the relevant committee.
Order and Institutionalization
- The lawmakers raised ten points of order that consumed 13 minutes of the proceedings’ time.
- The quorum was pointed out by an independent member at 1232 hours, following which the Chair ordered the bells to be rung for five minutes. However, the quorum was found to be complete upon counting.
- No protests/walkouts/boycotts were witnessed during the sitting.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
- Information on members’ attendance was unavailable to the observers and public.
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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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