ISLAMABAD, August 27, 2013: The Senate started debating the presidential address to the parliament’s joint sitting in June this year, during the seventh sitting of the 97th session, on Tuesday.
The Leader of the Opposition opened the debate by expressed his views on the presidential address for 30 minutes.
The Chairman presided over the sitting for an hour and 51 minutes while the remaining time – 49 minutes – was Chaired by a member of the Panel of Chairpersons. Both the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition attended the sitting.
Seven of 23 Starred Questions on the Orders of the Day about the Ministry of Interior were taken up. Additionally, 16 supplementary questions were asked.
The entire opposition and the MQM lawmakers separately staged walkouts – each lasting 30 minutes – against the registration of FIR against the ARY News by the Balochistan government over airing the video of the attack on the Ziarat Residency.
The House business was suspended for 25 minutes on the request of the Leader of the House for bringing back the protesting Senators.
A motion under rule 60 by a PPPP Senator seeking details of “suo motu action taken by each High Court of the country since 2009” was not taken up.
Following are some key observations of the House proceedings:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Senate met for three hours and five minutes.
- The sitting started at 1032 hours witnessing a 32-minute delay against the scheduled start time of 1000 hours.
- There were eight Senators present at the start of the proceedings, 17 at the end and a maximum 39 Members at a point during the sitting.
- The Chairman presided over an hour and 51 minutes of the sitting while the remaining 49 minutes were chaired by the Panel of Chairperson. The proceedings remained suspended for 25 minutes.
- Both the Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition attended the sitting.
- The relevant minister for the Question Hour was present.
- Parliamentary leaders of MQM, PPPP, ANP, PMLN and JUIF were present while those of PML and BNPA were not present.
- Five Members applied for leave.
- A single minority Member attended the sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
· There were 23 Starred Questions on the agenda about the Ministry of Interior. Of them, seven were taken up. Additionally, 16 supplementary questions were asked.
- The Leader of the Opposition started the discussion on a Motion of Thanks on the presidential address to the parliament on June 10, 2013. He spoke for 30 minutes.
- A Motion (under rule 60) regarding details of suo motu actions taken by each High Court of the country since 2009, was not taken up.
Order and Institutionalization
- Lawmakers spoke on eight points of order consuming 40 minutes.
- Two 30-minute walkouts were observed during the sitting. The PPPP, backed by the entire opposition, and the MQM lawmakers staged separate walkouts over the registration of FIR by the Balochistan government against ARY News over airing Ziarat residency attack video.
- 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.
The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the National Assembly proceedings conducted by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI); a member organization of FAFEN
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