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May 13, 2018

Senators show little interest in 277th session

National

May 13, 2018

ISLAMABAD: There is a gradual decrease, being witnessed in number of senators, who turn up during the Senate’s ongoing 277th session, perhaps the last one before the National Assembly’s term ends on May 31.

The highest number of legislators (82 out of 103), who attended the proceedings was recorded on the first day of 277th session, when the budget for financial year 2018-19 was presented in the National Assembly and the money bill and related documents tabled in the Senate the same day on April 27. The Senate consists of 104 members.

The Senate is witnessing a unique case of senator-elect Muhammad Ishaq Dar of ‘Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’, who is under treatment in London, thus, having not been able to return to Pakistan so far and take oath as member of the Upper House of Parliament. It is also rare that his membership has been suspended by the Supreme Court recently.

Lowest number of senators during the ongoing session, who attended the Senate, were recorded on April 30, the first day after the presentation of the budget, when almost half of total senators, i.e. just 53 attended the proceedings: 54 were absent while another five were on leave.

On the third sitting on May 2, again 81 senators at one time, were present in the House: 17 were absent while six were on leave. On the fourth sitting, on May 3, 72 senators came to the Senate: 24 were absent while six were on leave.

On May 4, the fourth sitting, attendance plunged again to mere 57 senators with 37 absent and nine were on leave. After the two-day break on May 7, 63 senators were present in the House at one point while 35 absent and another five on leave. On next day, 66 legislators graced the House with 27 staying away and ten were on leave. On May 9, 61 senators came to the Senate with 33 others absent and another nine on leave.

On next day, on May 10, 63 senators attended the session with 31 staying away and another nine were on leave and on May 11 i.e. Friday, 62 legislators attended the session with 33 marked as absent, as per the Senate Secretariat record and eight of them on leave. It is pertinent that the session was expected to be prorogued on Friday, however, its date has been extended and now it is believed to be prorogued Tuesday. And by the time the Senate will meet for 278th session, the interim government will have been installed to assist the Election Commission of Pakistan in the conduct of 2018 general election.

During the previous session, the 276th session, maximum attendance was 89 and minimum recorded during the five-day session was 60 and hence average 77 senators per day were present in the House.

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