Free and Fair Election Network Daily Factsheet: Sitting No. 5: Session No. 36 of the National Assembly Low Attendance Sitting Leaves All Regular Agenda Unaddressed

Islamabad: The National Assembly met for two hours and eight minutes during the fifth sitting of the ongoing 36th session. The House did not take up any formal agenda which appeared on the Orders of the Day, as the Members raised a total of 15 Points of Order, which failed to attract the Chair’s formal ruling.

Unless the Chair gives a formal ruling on a Point of Order, speeches and rejoinders do not contribute to any assembly output.

The sitting was also marked by low attendance, with only 20 Legislators present at the outset and 68 at the end of the sitting. All the parliamentary leaders along with the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker did not attend the proceedings. This is the second time during the 36th session that the parliamentary leaders were absent.

The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 15 minutes, while the Leader of the Opposition was present for 18 minutes. The following are some key observations of the Parliamentary Business:

Members’ participation in House proceedings

The National Assembly met for two hours and eight minutes. The fifth sitting started at 1030 Hours against the scheduled starting time of 1000 hours. The House proceedings started late by 30 minutes.

The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker were not present during the sitting. The entire sitting was presided over by a Member of Panel of Chairpersons.

The Prime Minister attended the sitting briefly for 15 minutes, while the Leader of Opposition was present for 18 minutes. None of the parliamentary leaders attended the proceedings. The Chief Whips of the PPPP, PML, MQM and MMAP were present, while those of the PMLN, BNPA, PMLF and ANP were absent.

A total of 20 (6%) Members were present at the outset of the sitting, while 68 (20%) Members at the end of the sitting. Maximum presence of 120 Members (35%) was observed at one point of the sitting.

Nine Members applied for leave to be absent. As many as six out of 10 minority Members were present during the 5th sitting.

Representation and Responsiveness

The House did not take up any of the two Calling Attention Notices which appeared on the Orders of the Day. A total of 21 Questions were listed to be taken up during the Questions Hour. However, only five were raised and responded by the relevant Minister. A total of 16 Supplementary Questions were raised during the fifth sitting.

Output

The National Commission for Human Rights Bill 2011 was not taken up by the House.

Order and institutionalization

A total of 15 Points of Order were raised, consuming 57 (45%) minutes of the sitting time. However, none of the Points of Orders raised by Members attracted the Chair’s formal ruling. There were no instances of protests, boycotts or walkouts during the sitting.

Transparency

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 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)
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