Senate sets up Functional Committee on Human Rights

ISLAMABAD, December 19, 2013: The 12th sitting of the ongoing Senate’s 99th session unanimously approved an amendment in Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business 2012 on Wednesday, and formed a Functional Committee on Human Rights, says Free and Fair Election Network in its Daily Factsheet based on direct observation.

The amendments in Rules 158 and 161 to form a functional committee on Human Rights were sponsored by a PPPP senator.

In addition, the House debated a motion on the current political and security situation in the country with particular reference to Balochistan, FATA and Rawalpindi incidents. Three senators belonging to PPPP, ANP and an independent lawmaker shared their views on the motion for 39 minutes.

As many as 10 Senators were present at the outset of the sitting while 27 were there at the adjournment. Additionally, the Leader of the House attended the entire sitting while the Leader of the Opposition was there for 46 minutes.

Following are some key observations of the House proceedings:

Members’ Participation in House Proceedings

  • The Senate met for two hours and six minutes.
  • The sitting started at 1112 hours against the scheduled time of 1030 hours, witnessing a delay of 42 minutes.
  • The Chairman presided over the sitting for first hour and 16 minutes while the Deputy Chairman chaired the remaining proceedings.
  • The Leader of the House attended the entire sitting whereas the Leader of the Opposition was present for 46 minutes.
  • Ten senators were present at the outset while a maximum of 27 members were there at the adjournment of the proceedings.
  • The relevant ministers for the Question Hour relating to Ministries of Water and Power and Foreign Affairs were not present.
  • The parliamentary leaders of JUI-F, ANP, PPPP and MQM attended the sitting.
  • Two minority senators attended the proceedings.
  • Four members applied for leave.

Output:

  • Senate amended Rule 158 and 161 to form Functional Committee on Human Rights.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • Three Senators belonging to PPPP, ANP and an independent lawmaker discussed the current political and security situation in the country with particular reference to Balochistan, FATA and Rawalpindi incidents. The debate on the motion (under rule 218) tabled by a PPPP senator lasted 39 minutes.
  • Eight out of 19 Starred Questions – requiring both oral and written answers – on the Orders of the Day were taken up. Additionally, lawmakers asked 30 supplementary questions. The questions on the agenda were addressed to the Ministries of Water and Power, Foreign Affairs and Petroleum and Natural Resources.

Order and Institutionalization

  • Senators spoke on five points of order consuming 16 minutes of the proceedings.
  • An independent senator from Balochistan staged a token walkout to express solidarity with the people of Zhob, who are staging a sit-in in front of the Parliament House, demanding provision of natural gas to their area.

Transparency

  • ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and others.
  • Information on senators’ attendance was not available to the observers and the public.  

This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of FAFEN and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. This Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by PATTAN Development Organization; a member organization of FAFEN. Errors and omissions excepted