ISLAMABAD, March 3, 2020: The Senate transacted its entire agenda on Tuesday and debated the report of Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research regarding the issue of wheat and flour crisis in the country, observes Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet.
Following are key observations of the proceedings of the first sitting of 297th session:
- The Senate met for two hours and 18 minutes.
- The sitting started at 1510 hours against the scheduled time of 1500 hours.
- The Chairman presided over the entire sitting.
- The Deputy Chairman did not attend the sitting.
- The Leader of the House attended the sitting for 55 minutes while the Opposition Leader was present for two hours and five minutes.
- Parliamentary leaders of PPPP, PML-N, ANP PML-F, PkMAP and PTI attended the sitting.
- Sixteen members (16% of the total membership – 104) were present at the outset and 33 (32%) at the end of sitting.
- Two minority lawmakers attended the sitting.
- Chairman Standing Committee on Railways presented reports of the Committee on the budgetary allocation and its utilization by the Ministry of Railways and its Departments, the PSDP proposed for the Financial Year 2020-21 and suffering of loss of Rs. 29 billion by the Railways during the last eight months.
- On behalf of Chairperson Standing Committee on Federal Education and Professional Training, National History and Literary Heritage, a member of the Committee presented reports on the Dyslexia Special Measures Bill, 2020, the University of Islamabad Bill, 2020 and budgetary allocations by Federal Education and Professional Training, Division for the Financial Year 2020-21. She also presented reports on points of public importance regarding appointment of Vice Chancellors in the Universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, problems to the students of Balochistan and payment of salaries to the teachers of National Commission for Human Development (NCHD).
- Chairman Standing Committee on Power presented reports of the Committee on reviewing the issues of high tariff, capacity charges, heat rates and calculation of payback period of IPPs and about a point of public importance regarding scheduled power shutdown in the Gadoon Industrial area for the last three months.
- On behalf of Chairperson Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication, a member of the Committee presented report on a starred question regarding the number of persons working in the Ministry, its attached departments, Authorities, Corporations, Autonomous/Semi-Autonomous Bodies and Organizations.
- Chairman, Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research presented report on the issue of Wheat and flour crisis in the country which was also adopted by the House following motion under Rule 196 (1). Seven lawmakers participated in debate on it for 38 minutes.
- Chairman, Standing Committee on Aviation presented report of the Committee on a resolution regarding re-employment of retired PIA employees on contract basis.
- Chairman Functional Committee on Human Rights presented reports on the Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Bill, 2020 and the Maintenance and Welfare of Old Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2019.
- Chairman Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs presented report on the Tax Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020. He also moved the recommendations on the legislative proposal which were adopted by the House.
- Chairman Functional Committee on Devolution presented report on non-compliance of the devolution plan of the PTDC and related public petition. The House also adopted this report after consideration.
- The Annual Reports of the National Economic Council for the Financial Year 2017-18 and Council of Common Interests (CCI) for the Year 2016-17 were presented in the House.
- The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs moved the Surveying and Mapping (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which was referred to the relevant committee.
- The House passed 14 motions under Rule 194 (1) granting 60-day extension to five Standing Committees for presentation of their reports on matters and legislative proposals forwarded to them.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The House took up four out of 13 starred questions while lawmakers asked 11 supplementary questions.
Order and Institutionalization
- The opposition staged a token walkout from the proceedings against the absence of relevant ministers during the question hour.
- PML-N and PTI members nearly came close to blows after remarks of a PML-N lawmaker during the debate on wheat and flour crisis. The debated also remained suspended for five minutes due to this incident.
- Two lawmakers including the Leader of the Opposition and the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs spoke on points of order for four minutes.
- The House was adjourned to meet again on March 4, 2020 (Wednesday) at 1500 hours.
- ‘Orders of the Day’ was available to the legislators, observers and public.
- The attendance of lawmakers is available on the website.
This daily factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). Errors and omissions are excepted
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