Senate Low Attendance Persists

ISLAMABAD, January 31, 2012:  The 11th sitting of the Senate met for two hours and 40 minutes witnessed low attendance of Senators. Fifteen were present at the outset of the sitting while 27 at the adjournment.

Twelve out of 17 questions listed for the Question Hour were responded to by the relevant ministers.

The Senate unanimously passed the Private Power and Infrastructure Board Bill, 2011.

The Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition attended the entire sitting.

Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:

Members’ Participation in House Proceedings

  • The Senate met for two hours and 40 minutes.
  • The sitting started at 1638 hours instead of the scheduled starting time of 1600 hours. The House proceedings were 38 minutes late.
  • The Chairman chaired the sitting.
  • The Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition were present.
  • The Parliamentary Leaders of the PMLN, MQM, PMLF, PKMAP, ANP and the JI attended the sitting while those of the PML, NP, JWP, BNPA and the PPPS were absent.
  • Fifteen Senators (15%) were present at the start of the sitting while 27 (27%) were there when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 34 Senators (34%) were present during one point of the sitting.
  • Seven Senators applied for leave to be absent.
  • The House took a 32-minute prayer break. 

Representation and Responsiveness

  • Seventeen starred questions were listed for the Question Hour; only 12 were put up and responded to by the relevant ministers.
  • A total of 24 supplementary questions were raised during the sitting.
  • A Calling Attention Notice (CAN) about non-construction of a river bridge at Chakdara that links District Dir, washed away due to floods, was taken up. This CAN was directed to the Ministry of Communications.
  • An ANP Member raised a Question of Privilege (QoP), which was sent to the Standing Committee on Rules of Procedures and Privileges.


  • The Private Power and Infrastructure Board Bill, 2011 was passed while the Special Economic Zones Bill, 2011 was deferred.
  • A Standing Committee report about the proposed Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate was presented.

Order and Institutionalization

  • No Points of Order were raised during the sitting.
  • There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts.


  • Orders of the Day were available to Legislators, observers and others.
  • Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
  • The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, this was not pointed out by any of the Senators.

After successfully observing proceedings of the National Assembly, the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has started the observation of the provincial assemblies – Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan – and the Senate. 

This daily factsheet is based on FAFEN’s direct observation of the eleventh sitting of 77th session of the Senate.

These reports are released on the day the sittings are held to provide media and other interested stakeholders vital statistics about the Assembly proceedings to encourage informed public discourse on its performance.

The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a member organization of FAFEN