ISLAMABAD, December 12, 2013: The Upper House of Parliament debated the contours of foreign policy for 54 minutes amidst low attendance of legislators during the 7th sitting of Senate’s 99th session, on Thursday, says Free and Fair Election Network in its Daily Factsheet based on direct observation of the House.
On a point of order, PPPP’s Dr Karim Ahmed Khawaja grabbed the attention of the House towards Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)’s recommendation of introducing a mechanism where citizens could get an easy access to witness the proceedings of the House. He also emphasized the need that the proceedings of the House should be telecast live through dedicated Parliamentary TV channel.
On a motion moved by a PPPP lawmaker, the mover and an ANP lawmaker debated the foreign policy with particular reference to the visit of the Prime Minister to United States, expected reduction of forces in Afghanistan by US/ISAF in 2014, offer of talks with Taliban, drone attacks and NATO supply.
The entire opposition staged a token walkout to protest over an unsatisfactory answer of the state minister for Interior and Narcotics Control to a question submitted by a PPPP lawmaker regarding rape cases in Islamabad.
Low attendance persisted in the 104-member House with 22 senators present at the outset, 31 at the end and a maximum 38 at a point during the sitting. The Leader of the House was present while the Leader of the Opposition and the parliamentary leaders of PML and JUI-F were absent.
The Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat and Capital Administration and Development presented its report on the Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2013.
A joint calling attention notice was taken up by the House to draw the attention of Railways minister to the proposal for shutting down 450 small railway stations and auction of Railways land in order to overcome its financial debt.
Following are some key observations of the House proceedings:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Senate met for two hours and 35 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1110 hours against the scheduled time of 1030 hours, witnessing a delay of 40 minutes.
- The Chairman presided over the sitting while the Deputy Chairman was absent.
- The Leader of the House was present while the Leader of the Opposition didn’t attend the sitting.
- Twenty-two senators were present at the outset, 31 at the end and a maximum 38 at a point during the sitting.
- All parliamentary leaders, except PML and JUI-F, attended the sitting.
- Three minority senators attended the proceedings.
- Four lawmakers applied for leave.
- The Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat and Capital Administration and Development presented its report on the Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2013.
Representation and Responsiveness
- Ten out of 11 Starred Questions on the agenda, addressed to the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting were answered. Additionally, lawmakers asked 38 supplementary questions.
- The House held a discussion on the foreign policy with particular reference to the visit of Prime Minister to United States on a Motion under Rule 218 moved by a PPPP Senator. Two lawmakers – the mover and an ANP senator – spoke on the motion for 54 minutes.
- The House took up a calling attention notice jointly moved by a PPPP and MQM senator regarding the government proposal for closing down 450 small railway stations and auction of Railways land in order to overcome its financial debt.
- An ANP lawmaker tabled a privilege motion against the lawmaker’s confinement in the lodges due to VIP movement in the city.
Order and Institutionalization
- Senators spoke on 11 points of order consuming 28 minutes of the proceedings.
- The entire opposition staged a token walkout to protest over an unsatisfactory answer of state minister for Interior and Narcotics Control to a question submitted by a PPPP lawmaker regarding rape cases in Islamabad.
- Orders of the Day were 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
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