ISLAMABAD, June 08, 2015: The Upper House on Monday could not start debate on the Federal Budget 2015-16 due to the demand of the opposition parties to broadcast their speeches live on television, says the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet.
The Senate Chairman suspended the proceedings for 68 minutes in a bid to have dialogue between the opposition parties and government lawmakers, but the issue could not be resolved.
Starting at the scheduled time, the Senate sitting witnessed low attendance of lawmakers as 18 members (17%) were present at the start and 39 legislators (38%) at the end of the sitting.
Minister for Commerce presented the copy of the Money Bill, the Finance (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, seeking recommendations of the lawmakers.
The House clubbed an adjournment motion (AM) and calling attention notice (CAN) into a resolution as both were related to the massacre of Muslims in Burma. Eighteen lawmakers- PML-N (6), MQM and PPPP (3 each), one each of PML, JUI-F, PTI, PML-F, NP and an Independent legislator- spoke on it for 116 minutes.
Tabled by BNP-M lawmaker, the House passed a resolution demanding the government to ensure rehabilitation in flood-hit areas of Balochistan. Four lawmakers, one each from BNP-M, NP, PkMAP and PTI, spoke on it for seven minutes.
Following are some key observations of the parliamentary business:
Members’ Participation in House Proceedings
- The Senate met for four hours and 34 minutes.
- The sitting started at the scheduled time of 1600 hours.
- The House had a prayer break of 16 minutes.
- The Chairman chaired the entire sitting while the Deputy Chairman was also present.
- The Leader of the House and the Opposition Leader attended the entire sitting.
- Parliamentary leaders of PML-N, PPPP, NP, MQM, PTI, PkMAP, PML-F, PML and BMP-M attended the sitting.
- 18 members (17% of the total membership – 104) were present at the outset and 39 (38%) at the end of the sitting.
- A maximum of 61 lawmakers (59%) were present at the time of adjournment.
- Three minority Senators attended the sitting.
- Two lawmakers applied for leave.
- Tabled by BNP-M lawmaker, the House passed a resolution demanding the government to ensure rehabilitation in flood-hit areas of Balochistan.
- The House took up a supplementary resolution to condemn the killing of Muslims in Burma.
Representation and Responsiveness
- The House took up a CAN regarding unequal representation of provinces in the Board of National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) and non-representation of experts in it.
- The Senate failed to start debate on the Federal Budget for recommendations to the National Assembly on the Finance Bill, 2015.
- The Chair did not admit an AM regarding involvement of Axact Company in selling fake educational degrees. The issue, which had already been taken up in the House, was forwarded to the concerned committee with recommendation to submit report by June 19, 2015.
- The House did not take up another AM regarding killing of two lawyers at Daska by an SHO due to the absence of mover.
- Despite opposition by the Minister for Commerce, the Chair admitted an AM for discussion which was about distribution formula of NFC.
Order and Institutionalization
- The proceedings were suspended by the Chair for 68 minutes in a bid to have consensus between opposition parties and the treasury lawmakers over the former’s demand to broadcast their budget speeches live on television.
- Two points of order consumed two minutes of the sitting.
- ‘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.
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This publication is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by PATTAN Development Organization – a member organization of FAFEN. Errors and omissions are excepted.
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