Treasury Introduces Govt Oversight Amendments in Balochistan Assembly

  • Assembly passes legislative proposal to protect children from violence during 35th Session
  • Lawmakers call for equal rights for minority employees

The Provincial Assembly of Balochistan witnessed introduction of important amendments to the Rules of Procedure and adoption of eight resolutions on various issues, including provision of equal rights for minorities working in government departments, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Session Report.

The House referred two amendments to Assembly’s Rules of Procedure for insertion of government oversight tools Call Attention Notice and Zero Hour to standing committee. The third amendment to the rules for addition of section for Sub-Committees was deferred on the request of opposition members.

The legislative business of the assembly didn’t see any improvement as the House passed only one government bill during the entire session. The treasury backed bill, the Balochistan Child Protection Bill, 2015 was passed following presentation of standing committee report during the third sitting. The bill was aimed at formally protecting the children of the province from violence and other inhuman treatments.

The House also adopted eight resolutions on various issues that appeared on the agenda. Four resolutions were jointly moved by lawmakers belonging to various political parties while three resolutions were tabled by PML-N lawmakers. A lawmaker belonging to PkMAP moved one resolution as well. The adopted resolutions were about establishment of provincial health and education commissions, regularization of the procedure of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for multi-national corporations and investing firms through legislation, taking measures through Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) to put an end to drug trafficking within the province, provision of funds and ownership rights to the servants of Local Government Department belonging to minorities, defining policy for upgradation of pay scales of minority employees in Local Government Departments, issuance of blue government passports for the members of the Balochistan Assembly and construction of MPA Lodges and Ministers’ Enclave to provide better residential facilities for legislators.

The session comprising five sittings started on November 2 and ended on November 12, 2016. On average, 23 (33%) members were present at the outset and 20 (28%) at adjournment of the sitting. Two-member representation of the marginalized groups was also observed to be in attendance during the session. Each sitting, on average started 43 minutes behind the schedule and lasted for two hours and 38 minutes. The total time of the session was 13 hours and nine minutes. The third sitting was the longest that took four hours and three minutes to complete while the first sitting was the shortest that consumed an hour and 22 minutes of the proceedings.

The Parliamentary Leaders of ANP attended all the five sittings, followed by JUI-F and PkMAP (4 each), PML and PML-N (3 each), MWM and NP (two each). However, the Parliamentary Leader of BNP remained absent throughout the session.

The Speaker attended all the sittings and presided over the session for 10 hours and 53 minutes (83%). The proceedings of the remaining two hours and 16 minutes (17%) were chaired by the Members of Panel of Chairpersons. The Chief Minister attended three sittings and remained present for seven hours and 51 minutes (60% of the session time) while the Leader of the Opposition attended four sittings for nine hours and 35 minutes (73% of the session time).

The House deferred 19 Starred Questions during first three sittings due to the absence of relevant ministers while six out of 12 Starred Questions were taken up and responded to by the relevant minister on floor of the House during the fourth sitting. In addition, lawmakers asked three Supplementary Questions during the same sitting.

Four reports were laid in the House during the reporting period. These included the one on National Finance Commission (NFC), Audit report of the Auditor General on various accounts for Financial Year 2015-16, and two reports of the standing committees on the Balochistan Child Protection Bill, 2015 and irregularities found during tests of National Testing Service (NTS) at the provincial education department.

Lawmakers raised 60 Points of Order (POs) that consumed two hours and 22 minutes of the session’s time. The highest number of POs (20) were raised during the fourth sitting consuming 39 minutes, while eight POs took 29 minutes of the proceedings during the first sitting. Lawmakers belonging to PkMAP raised 24 POs, followed by JUI-F (15), ANP and PML-N (6 each), PML (5), and NP (4).

A PML lawmaker walked out of the House for 18 minutes against the discriminatory policy of the government in allocating seats to Lady Health Workers in his constituency during the last sitting.

The House discussed an Adjournment Motion (AM) regarding the measures taken by security agencies after terrorist attack on Police Training Center, Quetta on October 24, 2016. The motion was tabled by Leader of the Opposition during first sitting while discussion on the motion was held during third sitting consuming three hours and four minutes of proceedings. In addition, a motion to constitute a special committee urging the provincial government to contact the federal government on issuance of blue government passports for the members of the Balochistan Assembly was adopted during the fifth and last sitting on November 12.

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