Punjab Assembly: Sitting Marked by Low Attendance

ISLAMABAD, December 31, 2012: Starting an hour and 48 minutes late, the 11th sitting of the ongoing 43rd session of the Punjab Assembly was marked by low attendance and key members’ absence.

Only 23 members were present at the outset and 26 when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 53 members were present at one point during sitting, which met for two hours and nine minutes. The sitting was adjourned when the quorum was pointed out by a PPPP legislator.

The Chief Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Speaker, and the parliamentary leaders of PML and PMLZ did not attend the sitting.

Two calling attention notices appearing on the agenda were deferred because the movers of the notices were not present. Further, three adjournment motions were deferred till next sitting on January 3, 2013.

The House debated the reports of medical and health institutions for the years of 2006, 2007 and 2008. Sixteen of the 31 starred questions appearing on the agenda were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, 32 supplementary questions were asked.

Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The Punjab Assembly met for two hours and nine minutes.
  • The sitting was started at 1648 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 1500 hours, witnessing a delay of an hour and 48 minutes.
  • The Speaker chaired the entire sitting. The Deputy Speaker was not present.
  • The Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the sitting.
  • The parliamentary leader of MMAP was present while those of PML and PMLZ did not attend the sitting.
  • Twenty-three members were present at the outset while 26 were there at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 53 members were present at one point during sitting.
  • One minority legislators was present.

 Representation and Responsiveness

  • Only 16 of the 31 starred questions appearing on the agenda were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, 32 supplementary questions were asked.
  • Two calling attention notices appeared on the List of Business but were deferred because of absence of the movers.
  • Three adjournment motions were deferred till the next sitting. The motions were about news appearing in a national daily about the involvement of government officials in unchecked sale of alcohol on the eve of new year, exploitation of the peasants by the fertilizers manufacturers, and non-parking areas of educational institutes.

Output

  • The House discussed the reports of medical and health institution for the years 2006, 2007 and 2008 for 20 minutes.

 Order and Institutionalization

•     Five points of order consumed three minutes. None of the POs attracted Chair’s formal ruling.

Transparency

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

  • The quorum was pointed out at 1851 hours by a PPPP lawmaker. The bells were rung for five minutes and subsequently sitting was adjourned as the quorum was not completed.

•     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.