- KP Assembly passed most laws, met for most working hours and sittings and had highest number of sittings adjourned due to quorum compared to other Assemblies in 4th Year
- Punjab Assembly met for lowest number of working hours and sittings amongst Provincial Assemblies
- Balochistan Assembly ranks last in legislative activity but first in CM’s attendance during fourth parliamentary year
September 14; As four Provincial Assemblies have completed their fourth parliamentary year, a PILDAT comparative assessment of performance of Assemblies shows that while Assemblies outrank each other in different areas, each Assembly records a decline in working hours, days consumed in budget session and attendance of Leaders of the Opposition compared to third parliamentary year.
Working Days (Sittings)
Even though Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was only convened for 60 days during the fourth parliamentary year, it has worked for more days than other Provincial Assemblies during the year. Provincial Assembly of Balochistan has met for 53 days, Provincial Assembly of Punjab held only 42 sittings and comparatively lowest number of sittings, 41, were held by the Provincial Assembly of Sindh during 4th parliamentary year.
When compared with previous, third parliamentary year, sittings of KP Assembly have increased by about 9% from 55 in year 3 to 60 in year 4 and sittings of Balochistan Assembly have increased by 8% in fourth year from 49 sittings held in 3rd year. In comparison, sittings of Punjab Assembly in year 4 have declined by nearly 31% from 3rd year when the Assembly had held 61 sittings. Similarly, sittings of Sindh Assembly in 4th year have also seen a decrease of 28% compared to third year when it was convened for 57 sittings.
Even though the number of working hours each Assembly meets for in a year is very low overall, in comparative analysis KP Assembly was convened for most working hours at 126.05 hours during fourth year. Its shortest sitting lasted only 11 minutes on August 27, 2021 while the longest sitting was held for 7 hours and 30 minutes on June 24, 2022. When compared with third parliamentary year, working hours of KP Assembly have declined by about 17% when it was convened for 147.02 working hours in 3rd year. Average working hours spent per sitting by the KP Assembly in 4 years is merely 2 hours and 6 minutes. It must be noted that cost of a working hour in KP Assembly during 4th year stood at PKR 14.5 million according to the allocated budget of the Assembly.
The Provincial Assembly of Sindh has met for 111.51 working hours during 4th year which is a decrease of about 13% compared to 3rd year when the Assembly met for 126.14 working hours. Its shortest sitting was held for only 2 minutes on September 14, 2021 and longest sitting was held for 13 hours and 8 minutes on June 27, 2022. The average working hours per sittings in Sindh Assembly have remained 2 hours and 44 minutes. According to allocated budget of the Assembly during 4th year, per working hour cost stands at PKR 25.8 million.
The Provincial Assembly of Balochistan spent a total of 91.10 working hours in sittings during 4th parliamentary year. These have decreased by about 36% from third year when Assembly had met for 124 working hours. During 4th year, shortest sitting of the Assembly was held for only 5 minutes on October 30, 2021 and longest sitting was 5 hours and 33 minutes on October 20, 2022. Balochistan Assembly’s average working hours per sitting are 1 hour and 43 minutes which are the lowest working hours in a sitting compared with other three Provincial Assemblies. Each working hour in the Assembly costs PKR 25.5 million according to the allocated budget of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan in 4th parliamentary year.
In terms of total working hours in 4th parliamentary year, Provincial Assembly of the Punjab ranks 4th for spending only 76.31 hours in sittings. Compared to 102.44 hours during 3rd parliamentary year, this is a decrease of 36%. Its shortest sitting was held for only 6 minutes on July 27, 2022 and longest lasted 7 hours and 42 minutes on July 29, 2022. Average working per hours per sitting in the Punjab Assembly stand at 1 hour and 49 minutes. It must be noted that according to allocated budget of the Assembly during 4th year, cost of a working hour stands at PKR 48.3 million in the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab.
Attendance of Chief Ministers
During the fourth parliamentary year, Chief Ministers of Balochistan have attended highest percentage (30%) of sittings of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan. Jam Kamal Khan, MPA had resigned as CM on October 24, 2021 and Mir Abdul Quddus Bezinjo, MPA replaced him on October 29, 2021. This is a combined attendance of both in which Jam Kamal Khan attended only 2% sittings and Mir Abdul Quddus Bezinjo attended 28% sittings).
Attendance of Chief Ministers of Punjab ranks at two with 21% sittings of the Punjab Assembly. Sardar Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar, MPA resigned as CM on March 28, 2022 and Mr. Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, MPA replaced him on April 16, 2022, who was then replaced by Mr. Parvez Elahi, MPA on July 26, 2022. This is a combined attendance of these three Chief Ministers.
Syed Murad Ali Shah, MPA and Chief Minister Sindh has attended only 15% sittings of the Sindh Assembly during the 4th parliamentary year.
At the fourth ranking is Mr. Mahmood Khan, MPA and Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who has attended only 8% sittings of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during 4th parliamentary year.
In general, with each passing parliamentary year, each Provincial Assembly has witnessed an increase in attendance of Chief Ministers in Assembly sessions with the only exception of CM Sindh whose attendance during the fourth year declined by 1 percentage point than the third year. On the other hand, attendance of Chief Minister Balochistan is at the top consecutively in past 4 years among all Assemblies. 30% attendance of Chief Minister Balochistan during the fourth year is increased by just 1 percentage points compared to 29% attendance during the third year. Attendance of Syed Murad Ali Shah, MPA and Chief Minister Sindh has declined by 6 percentage points from year 3 when he attended 21% sittings and in year 4 he could attend only 15% sittings. 21% attendance of Chief Minister Punjab increased by 13 percentage point in the fourth year compared to 8% in the third year. 8% attendance of Mr. Mahmood Khan, MPA, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is increased by 3 percentage point during fourth year compared to 5% attendance during third year.
Attendance of Leaders of the Opposition
Leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, Mr. Haleem Adil Sheikh, MPA, tops in the comparative analysis in terms of attendance as he attended 51.22% sittings of the Sindh Assembly during fourth parliamentary year, followed by Leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, Malik Sikandar Khan, MPA who attended 50.94% sittings of the Balochistan Assembly. Mr. Akram Khan Durrani, MPA and Leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa attended 18% sittings of the KP Assembly and lowest attendance during the fourth year is of the Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, i.e., 10%.
It must be noted that Mr. Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, MPA vacated the office of Leader of the Opposition and was elected as Chief Minister Punjab on April 16, 2022 and Mr. Muhammad Sibtain Khan, MPA replaced him on June 13, 2022. This is a combined attendance of both. It must also be noted that as per notification of the Punjab Assembly, the seat of Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly is vacant since July 29, 2022.
Compared to other Provincial Assemblies, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has passed 60 laws which is the highest during fourth year. This is followed by Provincial Assembly of the Punjab which has passed 35 bills, Provincial Assembly of Sindh which has passed 28 bills and Provincial Assembly of Balochistan which has passed 27 bills.
Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is the only assembly that recorded improved legislative activity during the fourth year and shows 45% increase in bills passed compared to third year when 33 bills were passed by the Assembly.
In terms of average bills passed by each Provincial Assembly in first four years, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly ranks at the top as it passed 46 bills per year, followed by Punjab Assembly which has passed 32 bills per year, Sindh Assembly has passed 26 bills per year while at the lowest rank, Provincial Assembly of Balochistan has passed only 19 bills per year.
Comparative analysis on legislation contrasts sharply with budget allocation to each Assembly per member during the year. Balochistan, which has passed the lowest number of laws has the highest budget allocation per member at about PKR 35.8 million per member during the fourth parliamentary year similar to the third Parliamentary year. Per member budget of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh in fourth parliamentary year is PKR 17.1 million. Budget allocation per member in the fourth year of Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is PKR 12.6 million. The budget allocation per member in Provincial Assembly of Punjab is PKR 9.9 million.
In the fourth parliamentary year, Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has spent 8 days in budget session, down from 9 days spent in year 3 while Provincial Assembly of Sindh has spent 7 days in its budget session during fourth parliamentary year, compared to 8 days of budget session in parliamentary year 3. Similarly, Balochistan Assembly has spent only 7 days during budget sessions during third and fourth year. In fourth parliamentary year, Punjab Assembly shows a 50% decline in days spend in budget sessions from 12 days to 6 days when compared to third year.
During the fourth parliamentary year, quorum was pointed out 24 times in 22 (36.67%) sittings out of 60 sittings in Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which is the highest among 4 Provincial Assemblies. Out of these 22 sittings in which quorum was pointed out, 18 (30%) sittings were adjourned due to lack of quorum (less than 25% MPAs present).
In the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, quorum was pointed out 7 times in 5 (11.90%) sittings out of 42 sittings held in the Assembly. Out of 5 sittings in which quorum was pointed out, 2 (4.76%) sittings were adjourned due to lack of quorum.
Quorum was pointed out 4 times in 4 (7.55%) sittings out of 53 sittings held in the Balochistan Assembly during the fourth parliamentary year and out of these 4 sittings in which quorum was pointed out, only 3 (5.66%) sitting were adjourned due to lack of quorum.
Quorum was not pointed out in Provincial Assembly of Sindh during the fourth parliamentary year. However, 1 (2.44%) sitting was adjourned after 2 minutes due to lack of quorum on September 14, 2021 when only five MPAs were present.
Public Access and Transparency
Online public access to activities of each Provincial Assembly is needed for public transparency of the working of each legislature elected by citizens. However, each Assembly needs to cover a somewhat large ground in this regard. In fact, Punjab Assembly which had set trailblazing record by providing access to webcasting of Assembly sessions and other important legislative data has stopped doing it altogether now.
Online public availability of attendance records of MPAs has always remained a major problem for nearly all Provincial Assemblies. During the fourth year, only the Provincial Assembly of Punjab has provided attendance records of MPAs though it remains incomplete and covers only the period until January 21, 2022.
On information regarding legislation, websites of Provincial Assemblies of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan are providing information on the bills passed and their enactment. However, since Punjab Assembly has stopped providing key information regarding working of the Assembly, even basic information such as laws passed has only been reflected until November 18, 2019.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly is the only assembly which is providing live webcasting of session proceedings on the Assembly website. No such arrangement is made available to the public by other 3 Provincial Assemblies.
In terms of providing public access to proceedings of sessions, only Provincial Assemblies of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh have been updating summaries of proceedings during fourth parliamentary year. This information, however, does not include key facts such as total working hours spent during each sitting. Provincial Assembly of Balochistan does not provide any data on its website regarding summary of proceedings while Punjab Assembly has regressed on transparency and openness altogether and summary of proceedings of its sittings is as outdated as of January 21, 2022 online.
Verbatim debates are regularly updated by the Balochistan Assembly on its website while Sindh Assembly does not provide this access to citizens. Again Punjab Assembly has stopped providing this access altogether and latest report on verbatim proceedings is that of January 21, 2022. Provincial Assembly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which uploaded verbatim record of sittings for first three parliamentary years has stopped doing so in the 4th year.