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January 16, 2019

Imran Khan has only attended 17.65pc of assembly sessions

Top Story

January 16, 2019

LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan sternly slated the opposition for disrupting the proceedings of the Lower House of Parliament on Tuesday, asserting that his political adversaries were only staging regular walkouts from the floor to evade accountability for corruption, but one wonders if the 22nd premier of the country has been told or reminded by any of his colleagues that he himself has attended only six out of 34 National Assembly sittings, meaning thereby that he has todate been part of only 17.65 per cent sessions.

The National Assembly sittings personally attended by Imran Khan include the inaugural session that was held for his election as premier of the country on August 17, 2018, when he had managed to secure a decisive tally of 176 votes, trampling all over PML-N’s Shahbaz Sharif, who could muster support of 96 National Assembly members only.

According to the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report on “Attendance and Quorum in National Assembly of Pakistan (June 2013-March 2018),” which was published on April 17, 2018, Imran Khan had recorded the lowest attendance among the parliamentary leaders in 14th (previous) National Assembly. The previous National Assembly had held 54 sessions comprising 468 sittings during its parliamentary years 2013-2018, and among all the legislators, Imran Khan had stood at second position as far as the ranking for Top 10 least regular Pakistan lawmakers was concerned. It is imperative to note that unlike various pillars of the State like the judiciary, executive and bureaucracy, only the members of the legislative branch are elected directly by the people through a ballot exercise. Although, it is extremely difficult to calculate the cost to the exchequer when a single parliamentary session is washed out due to walkouts or uncontrollable pandemonium, the cost of delay in policy-making is certainly huge and affects the entire nation.

For example, if there is an important higher education reform pending the Parliamentary approval of the legislators and it somehow has been delayed because of rumpus or chaos on the floor of the House, it might affect millions of careers in this country! Same goes for some reforms in the financial an health spheres, which otherwise warrant urgent nods of the heads from the men and women seated on both treasury and opposition benches.

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