Islamabad: The National Assembly met for two hours and 30 minutes during the eighth sitting of the ongoing 35th session. The sitting, which started 65 minutes late, witnessed low attendance, with only 77 Members present at the beginning and 92 at the end of the sitting. The chairperson of the Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs presented the report on Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill 2011.
Almost half of the business itemized on the Orders of the Day was taken up by the House. Members interrupted the proceedings to raise six Points of Order, which consumed 45% of the sitting time.
The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 18 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent. The Parliamentary Leaders of the BNPA and NPP were present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties did not attend the proceedings.
Following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:
Members’ participation in House proceedings
The National Assembly met for two hours and 30 minutes. The eighth sitting started at 1805 hours against the scheduled starting time of 1700 hours. The proceedings started late by 65 minutes. The Speaker chaired 60 minutes of the sitting, while the remaining time was presided over by the Deputy Speaker. The Prime Minister attended the sitting for 18 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition remained absent.
The parliamentary leaders of the NPP and BNPA were present, while the leaders of other parliamentary parties remain absent. The Chief Whips of PPPP, PMLN, PML and ANP were present, while the chief whips of the MMAP, MQM, PMLF and PPPS were absent. A total of 77 (23%) Members were present at the outset, while 92 (27%) Members were present at the end of the sitting.
A maximum of 190 (56%) members were observed to be present at any point of the sitting. A total of 13 Members applied for leave to be absent from the sitting. Seven out of 10 minority Members were present in the House.
Representation and Responsiveness
Out of the two Calling Attention Notices (CANs) on the Orders of the Day, the House took up one. The CAN taken up by the House was about the “dilapidated condition of the bridges and Super Highway from Karachi to Punjab”. Moved by three male and two female Members of PPPP, it was directed to the Ministry of Communication. A total of 23 questions were listed to be taken up during the Question Hour.
However, only nine were raised and responded by ministers. A total of 22 Supplementary Questions were raised in the House during the eighth sitting.
The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Regulation and Enforcement) Bill, 2011 was introduced by Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development. Industrial Relations Ordinance 2011 was laid by the Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Planning and Development presented the third Quarterly Report for the year 2010-2011 of the Central Board of Directors of the State Bank of Pakistan on the state of Pakistan’s economy. A Standing Committee report on Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill 2011 was presented before the House.
Order and institutionalization
A total of six Points of Order were raised, consuming 68 minutes (45% of total sitting time). However, none of the Points of Order attracted the Speaker’s formal ruling. There were no instances of protests, walkouts or boycotts.
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.
For more information, contact:
Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN)
FAFEN Secretariat 224, Margalla Road F–10/ 3 – Islamabad
Tel: +9251 221 1026
Fax: +9251 221 1047
Cell: +92321 501 7355, +92301 854 9188