Seventh Sitting Marked by Low Attendance, Unfinished Agenda

ISLAMABAD, November 22, 2011: The National Assembly met for two hours and 20 minutes during the seventh sitting of the 36th session. Only the parliamentary leader of the PPPS attended the proceedings.

The issue of Members’ low attendance persisted during this sitting as well. Only 32 Legislators were present at the start, while 85 were present when the sitting was adjourned.

The National Assembly did not address 74% of the agenda. The House did not take up six Motions under Rule 259, five Resolutions, three Private Members’ Bills and two proposed Amendments to the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of the National Assembly.

Members raised a total of 20 Points of Order which consumed 46% of the total time. However, none of the Points of Order attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.

The House debated the motion on the situation arising out of reducing the funds of Bait-ul-mal, and the Matter of Public Importance about dismal condition of human rights.

Members’ participation in House proceedings

  • The National Assembly met for two hours and 20 minutes.
  • The seventh sitting started at 1720 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The House proceedings started late by 20 minutes.
  • The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker remained absent. The entire sitting was presided over by a Member of Panel of Chairpersons.
  • The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition did not attend the proceedings.
  • The Parliamentary Leaders of the PPPS was the only one present, while the leaders of the NPP, MQM, BNPA, MMAP, ANP, PML and PMLF were absent.
  • The Chief Whips of MMAP, PML, MQM, ANP and PPPP were present, while those of the PMLN and PMLF were absent.
  • A total of 32 (9%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 85 (25%) Members at the end of the sitting.
  • A total of eight Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting.
  • Six out of 10 minority Members were present during the sitting.

Representation and Responsiveness

  • The House took up both the Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day.
  • Moved by five PPPP Members – three males and two females – the first CAN was about “non-availability of urea fertilizer and its high prices in the country”, which was directed to Ministry of Industries.
  • The other CAN was about the “payment of huge amount to the electronic media for expensive advertisements by PIA despite delay of PIA flights and increasing technical faults in the aircrafts”. Sponsored by five PMLN Members – three male and two female Members – it was directed to the Ministry of Defence.
  • There was no Question and Answer session as Tuesday’s sitting was a Private Members’ Day.


  • Four Bills were listed on the Orders of the Day. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2011 was taken up, and sent to the respective Standing Committee, while the remaining three were not taken up by the House.
  • One Standing Committee report on the Sovereignty of Pakistan Bill 2010 was presented in the House.

Order and institutionalization

  • A total of 20 Points of Order were raised, consuming 64 minutes (46% of total sitting time) of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Order attracted the Chair’s formal ruling.
  • The Motion under Rule 259 about the situation arising out of reducing the funds of Bait-ul-mal was debated by the House. Two female PMLN Members spoke for four minutes on the issue.
  • The Matter of Public Importance regarding the dismal condition of human rights in Pakistan was taken up by the House. Six PMLN Members spoke on it for 26 minutes. The Advisor to the Prime Minister on Human Rights concluded the debate.
  • There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts during the sitting


  • Orders of the Day were available to Legislators, observers and others.
  • Information on Members’ attendance was unavailable to observers and the public.
  • The Quorum was visibly lacking at various stages during the sitting. However, lack of quorum was not pointed out by any of the Members.

The Daily Factsheet is based on direct observation of the Senate proceedings conducted by Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), a member organization of FAFEN