Published On: Tue, Mar 25th, 2014
Published in Category: Islamabad

Low attendance, lack of quorum observed in six NA sessions

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ISLAMABAD: The lack of quorum and low attendance of members were observed in six out of nine sessions of the 14th National Assembly, which shows a lack of interest on part of the parliamentarians in the legislative business, says a press release issued by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) on Monday.

A comparative analysis of the official data regarding the attendance of legislators show that the National Assembly held 78 sittings in nine sessions from June 1, 2013 to March 7, 2014. Though the members’ attendance was relatively higher in the earlier sessions; however, it continued to drop in the latter sessions.

The lack of quorum was pointed out on 13 occasions in six sessions while the Leader of the House attended at least one sitting in five sessions – first, second, third, eighth and ninth – with the exception of second session when he was present in two sittings.

The attendance of members in first, second and third sessions was encouraging compared to the remaining six sessions because first session was primarily held for the elections of the Leader of the House, the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker and their subsequent oath-taking, the budget was presented in the second while the third session was called for the election of the President. It was observed that the members’ attendance was comparatively better in sittings which were attended by the Leader of the House. On average, eight minority members were present in each session attended by the Leader of the House while all of them were present in the first sitting of the budget session.

The lack of quorum was pointed out by the opposition members – PTI legislators seven times, followed by the PPPP four, MQM and an Independent member once each. Seven of the 13 sittings were adjourned until the next day due to the lack of quorum whereas the quorum was found complete in the remaining six sittings after the counting.

The House proceedings took 292 hours and 13 minutes and on average, each session started at least 36 minutes behind the schedule and met for 32 hours and 28 minutes. So far, 10% of the time was consumed by breaks in all sessions.} else {