Treasury-Opposition Confrontation Mars National Assembly Agenda

The National Assembly could not address its scheduled business during 38th session that ended on December 20, 2016. The five-sitting session had three government bills and heavy Private Members’ business on its agenda but the House did not take up any agenda item appearing on Orders of the Day. The Question Hour was also held only twice during the entire session. However, the government presented two unscheduled committee reports that includes the Second Interim Report of Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms.

  • PM, Leaders of PTI, MQM, JUI-F, PML and 70 other Lawmakers Remain Absent during Entire Session
  • None of the Sittings Could Commence on Scheduled Time

The lawmakers exploited Points of Order to discuss various political issues. These discussions, which mostly related to Panama Leaks Issue, consumed nearly half of the proceedings (48%) time. The absence of Leader of the House (Prime Minister) and parliamentary leader of PTI was also highlighted during the debates. The lack of quorum disrupted the proceedings twice leading to adjournment of sitting once and an hour’s suspension on second occasion. According to official attendance records published on the website of the National Assembly, as many as 75 lawmakers, including the Prime Minister and the parliamentary leaders of PTI, MQM, JUI-F and PML did not attend any sitting of the session. On average, each sitting was attended by 186 (55%) lawmakers. According to FAFEN headcounts, on average, 79 (23%) lawmakers were present at the outset and 92 (27%) at the adjournment of each sitting.

Duration and Attendance

The National Assembly held five sittings during 38th session that began on December 14. Each sitting, on average, continued for nearly two hours and 15 minutes while the cumulative duration of five sittings was 11 hours and 19 minutes. The proceedings remained suspended for an hour and 24 minutes due to prayer break or lack of quorum. As compared to previous session, the average sitting duration witnessed a decrease of 38 minutes.  None of the sittings could commence on its scheduled time. Each sitting, on average, started an hour and eight minutes behind the schedule while the average delay during the previous session was only eight minutes. Two sittings of the session were delayed for more than two hours while the minimum delay was of 18 minutes.

The Prime Minister did not attend any sitting of the session. It is continuously third session of the Lower House that Prime Minister has not been attending. The Leader of the Opposition was present during three out of five sittings and attended 56% of the proceedings (six hours and 17 minutes). The Speaker attended all five sittings and presided over 84% of the proceedings (nine hours and 33 minutes) while the Deputy Speaker was present in four sittings and chaired three percent of the proceedings (22 minutes). The remaining of the session’s duration was consumed in suspensions. The parliamentary leaders of JI, PPPP, APML, AMLP and AJIP attended all sittings while those of JUI-F, MQM, PML and PTI remained absent throughout the session. As many as 97 lawmakers, including 42 of PML-N, 17 of PTI, 14 of PPPP, eight of JUI-F, seven of MQM and three of JI were marked present in every sitting. On the other hand, 75 lawmakers – 44 PML-N, 13 PPPP, five MQM, four each of PTI and PML-F, two of PML and one each of JUI-F, PkMAP and Independents – did not attend any sitting of the session.

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