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Sunday June 16, 2024

PILDAT analyses 45th National Assembly session

By Asim Yasin
February 07, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) has analysed the 45th session of the National Assembly, which began on October 7 and was prorogued on October 24, 2022, in which only 30.98 percent of MNAs marked their attendance.

During the 18-day National Assembly session, eleven sittings were held.The 45th session of the National Assembly met for 22 hours and 20 minutes, with an average time of two hours and two minutes per sitting.

The longest sitting of the session was held on Thursday, October 13, when the House adjourned after four hours and 19 minutes, while the shortest sitting was held on Friday, October 14, when 60 percent of the agenda items were left over and the house adjourned for lack of quorum after only 16 minutes, with only 82 (24.77 percent) MNAs present.

The average delay in starting a sitting was 36 minutes during the session.On average, 31.53 percent of the agenda items were left over during the 45th session, and the National Assembly could dispose of only 68.47 percent of its agenda items in 11 sittings.

Maximum agenda items left over were 90.91 percent on October 24 due to discussion by the members on the killing of a journalist, Mr. Arshad Sharif, in Kenya, while minimum agenda items left over were eight percent on October 7, and the National Assembly disposed of the whole agenda on October 20.

Lack of quorum was pointed out only in two or 18.18 percent out of 11 sittings during the session, and at the same time, two sittings were adjourned for lack of quorum. On average, 103 (30.98 percent) MNAs were recorded as being present in the session.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif could not attend a single sitting throughout the session, while Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Raja Riaz Ahmad, MNA, attended three (27.27 percent) sittings.

On average, 103, or 30.98 percent, MNAs marked their attendance during the 45th session, and the reason behind this low attendance is the absence of PTI MNAs. The ECP also de-notified 11 MNAs of the PTI on July 29, 2022.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali was the most vocal MNA during the 45th session with a recorded talk time of one hour and seven minutes. Ghous Bux Khan Mahar spoke for 31 minutes during the session, followed by Qadir Khan Mandokhail, who spoke for 27 minutes during the session. Muhammad Jamaluddin spoke for 25 minutes, and Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh for 24 minutes.

During its 45th session, the National Assembly passed 17 bills. Out of these, seven government bills and three private member’s bills were introduced to the National Assembly, while seven private member’s bills were transmitted from the Senate.

Only one ordinance (The Tax Laws (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2022 (Ord. No. VI)) was laid during the session, while no ordinance was extended during the session.During the 45th session, the total time consumed for discussion on policy issues spanned only one hour and 32 minutes, while the assembly consumed 14 hours and 27 minutes for the discussion of non-policy issues.

The maximum time consumed in discussing policy issues was on a bill, “the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022,” for 14 minutes, while the House spent 4 hours, 11 minutes, and one hour, and 23 minutes discussing non-policy issues such as “a discussion on the situation arising out of the floods in the country in 2022” and “law and order in Balochistan,” respectively.

It must be noted that PILDAT has classified a policy issue as one that involves any amendment to a bill or a recommendation on devising a policy. Any discussion on an issue that does not go beyond mere criticism or highlighting a concern does not fall under a policy issue and is treated as time spent on non-policy issues.