ISLAMABAD, December 20, 2012: Low attendance was witnessed in the 6th sitting of the ongoing 88th session of the Senate which unanimously adopted a resolution and debated an adjournment motion regarding the attacks on polio workers in various parts of the country. Eighteen senators debated the motion for two hours and 34 minutes, consuming 72% of the sitting time.
Only five senators (total membership – 104) were present at the start, while 16 were there when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 39 senators were observed to be present at one point of sitting.
The Chairman chaired the sitting for two hours and 19 minutes and the rest of the sitting was chaired by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons. The Deputy Chairman along with the parliamentary leaders of PML, MQM, BNPA and PMLF (a single member party) did not attend the sitting.
Two reports – a standing committee report on purchase of land for housing scheme at Bara Kahu, Islamabad by the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation and an annual report of the Federal Public Service Commission for the year 2011 – were also presented.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Senate met for three hours and 34 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1041 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours, witnessing a delay of 41 minutes.
- The Chairman chaired the sitting for two hours and 19 minutes. The rest of the sitting was chaired by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons.
- The Deputy Chairman was not present.
- The Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition attended the sitting.
- The parliamentary leaders of ANP, NP and JUIF attended the sitting while those of MQM, PML, JUIF and BNPA were not present.
- Only five Senators were present at the start, while 16 were there when the sitting was adjourned. A maximum of 39 senators were observed to be present at one point of sitting.
- One of four minority senators attended the sitting.
- A single senator applied for leave.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Only three of the 17 starred questions (requiring oral replies) appearing on the orders of the day were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries. Additionally, eight supplementary questions were asked.
- An adjournment motion about the attacks on the polio workers was raised by a PMLN legislator. Eighteen senators belonging to all the parties, except NP, spoke on it for two hours and 34 minutes.
- A supplementary resolution regarding attacks on the polio workers was raised and unanimously adopted by the house.
- A standing committee report on purchase of land for housing scheme at Bara Kahu, Islamabad by the Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation was presented.
- Another report of the Federal Public Service Commission for the year 2011 was presented by the Cabinet Secretariat.
Order and Institutionalization
- Twelve points of order were raised which consumed 30 minutes of the sitting time.
- Orders of the day were available to legislators, observers and others.
- Information on senators’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
- The quorum was visibly lacking at various stages of the sitting. However, it was not pointed out by any of the legislators.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a member organization of FAFEN
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