Requisitioned Senate Session Debates Important National Issues

  • 84% of Senate time consumed in debates
  • Senators express divergent views on JIT Report

ISLAMABAD, July 21, 2017: The House of Federation discussed important national issues during 264th requisitioned session and paid tributes to one of their colleagues who passed away last month, observes Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Session Report on Friday.

Moved by the Leader of the House, the Senate adopted a resolution expressing grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Senator Agha Shehbaz Khan Durrani who died on June 25, 2017 due to cardiac arrest. As many as 31 Senators, including the Chairman, expressed their condolences for an hour and 48 minutes.

The 4-day session was requisitioned by the opposition on July 17, 2017 to discuss important national and political issues on joint motions under Rule 218. The discussion on these motions and the resolution consumed 84% of the session’s time.

Nineteen lawmakers took part in a clubbed motion regarding the statement of US Armed Services Committee’s Chairman in Kabul against Pakistan and the ToRs of former Army Chief, who is heading the Saudi-led Military Alliance. The Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs gave the policy statement in 12 minutes.

The House discussed another clubbed motion under Rule 218 on the issue of missing persons in the province of Sindh and non-implementation of National Action Plan. Twelve Senators took part in the discussion that consumed an hour and 15 minutes. The motion was concluded by the Minister of State for Interior in his six-minute speech.

The House discussed another motion under Rule 218 regarding the threat to freedom of expression due to the misuse of Electronic Crimes Act. Fourteen lawmakers took part in the debate that consumed an hour and 25 minutes of the proceedings. The motion was concluded by the Minister of State for Information Technology in nine minutes while the Minister of State for Interior also expressed his views on the matter for eight minutes.

Eight lawmakers spoke for 46 minutes on clubbed motions under Rule 218 regarding the need for new accountability mechanism to ensure across-the-board accountability of all and sundry & the increasing level of corruption in the country. The motion was concluded by the Minister for Law in his four-minute speech while the Chairman also expressed his views consuming three minutes of the proceedings.

Moved jointly by the opposition lawmakers, the House discussed a clubbed motion under Rule 218 regarding the report of JIT constituted by the apex court to probe the Panama Papers case and the propaganda against the national institutions, including the Supreme Court of Pakistan. As many as 23 Senators expressed their views on it, while the motion was concluded by the Minister for Law. Earlier, the Chairman gave his ruling on the admissibility of the motion.

Ten lawmakers spoke for 50 minutes on a motion under Rule 218 regarding inaction of the government on FATA Reforms project approved by the Cabinet and its inability to table legislative proposals for the implementation of reforms in the tribal areas. The motion was concluded by the Minister for SAFRON in his 21-minute speech.

The House discussed another motion under Rule 218 regarding the Government of Punjab’s violation of the Economic Coordination Committee’s decision on the export of wheat flour to Afghanistan. Four lawmakers spoke on the matter for 12 minutes while the Minister for National Food Security and Research concluded the discussion in 10 minutes.

Senator Saeed Ghani, the outgoing lawmaker of the PPPP, gave farewell speech as he has won the by-election from PS-114 Karachi constituency. PML-N and PTI lawmakers paid tributes to the outgoing Senator while the Chairman also lauded his services as a legislator.

The House witnessed the presentation of eight committee reports, while the time period for the presentation of three other committee reports was extended by the House.

Lawmakers spoke on three Points of Public Importance for nine minutes while two Points of Order consumed eight minutes of the proceedings.

A PTI lawmaker spoke on a point of personal explanation over the allegations of fraud against him while the State Minister for Interior informed the House about the exact amount of compensation paid to the victims of Parachinar terror acts and no progress in the case of former President Asif Zardari’s missing advisor, Mr. Nawab Leghari.

Each sitting, on average, started two minutes behind the schedule and continued for three hours and 56 minutes. The Prime Minister did not attend any of the sittings. The Chairman presided over the entire proceedings, while the Deputy Chairman remained absent throughout the session. The Leader of the House attended two sittings, consuming 27% of the session’s time, while the Leader of the Opposition attended all the sittings and remained present during 62% of the proceedings’ time.

The highest attendance remained 76 and the lowest 66, while the average maximum attendance remained 68 percent during the entire session. The House took up almost all the agenda on the Orders of the Day. On average, 19 lawmakers (18%) of the total membership – 104) were present at the beginning and 15 (14%) at the end of each sitting.

Parliamentary leaders of PkMAP, MQM, ANP, PPPP and PML-N attended the entire sittings while the leaders of PML-F and JI attended three sittings each, whereas the leaders of PTI, NP and BNP-A attended two sittings each. The JUI-F leader attended only one sitting while the Parliamentary Leader of BNP-M did not attend any of the sittings.

The Chairman, before announcing the prorogation of the session, made remarks on the ongoing democratic and political process in the country and vowed that the Senate will protect the democratic system and supremacy of the constitution at all costs.