ISLAMABAD, September 2, 2010: The National Assembly did not take up the Motion under Rule 259 regarding devastation of life and property caused by recent floods scheduled for the first sitting of the 24th session that went under way on Thursday, reports the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Daily Factsheet on the National Assembly Proceedings.
The discussion on floods that left more than 1,500 people dead and rendered more than 15 million people homeless was deferred due to the death of one federal minister a day earlier — Abdul Razak Thahim, who held the local government and rural development portfolio.
However, the House responded to massive flood tragedy by offering Fateha for the flood victims. Fateha was also offered for the late Abdul Razak Thahim.
The two-hour sitting witnessed a token walkout by the members of PML, MQM and PPPS against the bomb blasts in Lahore and firing incident in Karachi. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
- The National Assembly met for an hour and 53 minutes.
- The first sitting started at 1127 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1100 hours. The House proceedings started late by 27 minutes.
- The Speaker presided over the entire sitting. The Deputy Speaker was also present during the sitting.
- The Prime Minister did not attend the sitting, while the Leader of Opposition was present for the entire duration of the sitting.
- Parliamentary leaders of MQM, MMAP and PPPS were present while the leaders of PML, PMLF, ANP, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML, MQM, ANP, MMAP and PPPS were present, while the chief whips of PMLF, NPP and BNPA were absent.
- A total of 146 (43%) members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 151 (44%) members at the end of the sitting.
- As many as nine out of 10 minority members were present during the 1st sitting.
Representation and Responsiveness
- There were 2 Calling Attention Notices on the Orders of the Day. They were not taken up by the House
- Question Hour was not held.
- There were three Bills on the Orders of the Day. These legislations were not taken up by the National Assembly
Order and institutionalization
- 24 Points of Order was raised, taking up the entire time of the sitting. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted Speaker’s ruling.
- There was one Motion under Rule 259 on the Orders of the Day, regarding the mass devastation of life and property caused by the recent floods in the country. However, the House did not take up the motion.
- Some Members of PML and MQM staged a token walkout against ‘the suicide attacks on a religious procession in Lahore on September 1, 2010’. The parliamentary leader of PPPS and an independent Member joined them. The walkout lasted for five minutes.
- 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 of the National Assembly.
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
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