3rd Session of the National Assembly prorogued in 29 minutes

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Highlights:

  1. One more MNA, Ms. Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, administered oath in 3rd Session of the 16th National Assembly
  2. No bill was introduced or passed during the Session
  3. National Assembly could not address even a single item on Agenda
  4. Session adjourned due to quorum after 29 minutes

Working Hours

The 3rd session of the 16th the National Assembly was convened on April 15, 2024 and was prorogued on same day after only 29 minutes. It started with a delay of 41 minutes.

Agenda Items Left Over

100% agenda items were left over during the session. A total of 7 agenda items were scheduled to be discussed in the session. These included a calling attention notice from Malik Shakir Bashir Awan, MNA (NA-87 Khushab-I, Punjab, PML-N) to draw the attention of the Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research to shortage of urea fertilizer in the country. Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs (Punjab, PML-N) was scheduled to lay the Apostille Ordinance, 2024 (No. I of 2024). Federal Minister for Finance Senator Muhammad Aurangzeb was expected to present the July-December 2021 report on the implementation of the NFC Award. Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Federal Minister for Law and Justice, (Punjab, PML-N) was also scheduled to lay the Annual Report 2022 of the Election Commission of Pakistan. Rai Hassan Nawaz Khan, MNA (NA-143 Sahiwal-III, Punjab, SIC) was scheduled to draw the attention of the Federal Minister for Water Resources to Indian aggression on the water rights of Pakistan through its recent completion of the Shahpur Kandi barrage on the Ravi River stopping the water flow to Pakistan. All agenda points were left over during the session.

Quorum

Quorum was pointed out and the session was adjourned due to lack of quorum. The House was found not to be in order as only 64 members were present.

Attendance

A total of 220 (65%) MNAs were recorded as present in the session.

Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, MNA (NA-123 Lahore-VII, Punjab, PML-N), did not attend the 3rd session. Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, MNA (NA-18 Haripur, KP, Independent), who was declared Opposition Leader on April 2, 2024, attended the Session.

Vocal MNAs

Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA (NA-221 Tando Muhammad Khan, Sindh, PPPP) spoke for less than a minute. He regretted the “unmannerly attitude” of the SIC members during oath-taking of Ms. Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari (NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad, Sindh, PPPP).[1]

Legislation

No Government or Private Member bills were introduced during the session.

Analysis

The Opposition requisitioned the 3rd session to discuss the letter written by six judges of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) regarding alleged surveillance by the country’s intelligence agencies and interference in judicial matters. However, Speaker, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, MNA (NA-120 Lahore, Punjab, PML-N), responded that he could not allow a debate on a sub judice matter.[2]

Ms. Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari, MNA (NA-207 Shaheed Benazirabad, Sindh, PPPP), was sworn in as a member of the National Assembly after being elected unopposed in a by-election from Shaheed Benazirabad. She filled the seat vacated by her father, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, after he was elected President. However, her oath-taking ceremony was marred by protest from the Opposition, leading to treasury members walking out in protest against the opposition’s behavior.[3]

The House offered Fateha for the departed souls of the three policemen martyred in a mine blast in Lakki Marwat, KP, for 17 people who died and more than 50 injured in a truck accident in Hub, Balochistan, 11 passengers martyred in a terrorist attack in Nushki, Balochistan, two soldiers martyred in an encounter with terrorists in District Buner, KP, 64 citizens martyred in street crimes in Karachi and several people who died due to recent heavy rains in the country. The House also offered Fateha for the brother of Malik Aamir Dogar MNA (NA-149 Multan-II, Punjab, SIC) and three Pakistanis martyred in Malaysia. The house also offered prayers for the recovery of policemen injured in Bahawalnagar.

Time consumed on discussion of Policy Issues during 3rd Session

The effectiveness of the National Assembly session can be measured by examining the time devoted to discussing crucial issues of democratic governance. Unfortunately, the 3rd session was marred by protests, resulting in no discussions held on agenda points as no member was able to speak on any policy issues.

References 

  1. “Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari sworn in as MNA amid opposition ruckus,” Dawn online, April 15, 2024, accessed May 10, 2024. https://www.dawn.com/news/1827617.

  2. Amir Wasim & Ishaq Tanoli, “Aseefa makes parliamentary debut amid noisy protest,” Dawn online, April 16, 2024, accessed May 10, 2024. https://www.dawn.com/news/1827719.

  3. Waqas Ahmed, “Aseefa sworn in as MNA amid opposition ruckus,” The Express tribune online, April 15, 2024, accessed May 10, 2024. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2462682/aseefa-sworn-in-as-mna-amid-opposition-ruckus.