Legislature Monitor – The National and Provincial Legislatures of Pakistan – November 2015

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In this Issue

The National Assembly of Pakistan

The Senate of Pakistan

The Provincial Assembly of Balochistan

The Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

The Provincial Assembly of the Punjab

 

The National Assembly of Pakistan

Performance Indicators

Session 25
November 06-11, 2015

Session 26
November 20-27, 2015

Sittings

4

6

Bills Passed

3

2

Resolutions Passed

1

5

Attendance of Prime Minister

1 sitting (25%)

1 sitting (17%)

Attendance of Leader of Opposition

4 sittings (100%)

4 sittings (67%)

Attendance of MNAs

69%

47%


Democratic Process Follows with the Re-election of Sardar Ayaz Sadiq


Sardar Ayaz Sadiq takes oath, administered by Acting Speaker, Murtaza Javed

Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, MNA, has been re-elected to the post of Speaker of the National Assembly in the aftermath of NA-122 bye-polls. During a sitting on November 09, 2015 the Members of the National Assembly voted for the position of Speaker. Sardar Sadiq secured 268 votes while member of the Opposition, Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, MNA, (NA-126, Punjab, PTI) secured only 31. This is a positive indication of the democratic process being followed, where the Speaker was lawfully de-seated by an Election Tribunal in August 2015 and has been legitimately re-elected to the post.

Ministers must Inform House on Progress

The Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, MNA, (NA-52, Punjab, PML-N) announced to the House various comprehensive measures being taken to control corruption and improve performance in the subordinate organisations of the Ministry of Interior. It is highly unfortunate that while Federal Ministers are answerable to the Parliament, yet most Ministers are hardly ever present in the Parliament, let alone inform the House about progress within their Ministries. This suggestion of the Minister would substantially improve the oversight of the Parliament over the performance of the Government in addition to their reporting to Committees. PILDAT strongly supports Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s important suggestion that the Business Advisory Committee should create rules making all Ministers bound to present their performance to the House. In addition, the Annual Year Books by each Ministry should be regularly laid in the House.

Legislators Give Mixed Responses to the ISPR Statement

The ISPR released a statement on November 10, 2015 stating “the need for matching / complimentary governance initiatives for long-term gains of operation and enduring peace across the country,”1 which was unfortunate and uncalled for. Even more unfortunate had been the voices in the Parliament that seemed to justify the statement. Syed Khursheed Shah, MNA, (NA-199, Sindh, PPPP) termed it an “important hint” while Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, MNA, stated that it should be a matter of concern for the PML-N. The controversy ebbed its way into the Senate where Parliamentarians expressed their disappointment with governance, however assured the Government of their continued support.

The Senate of Pakistan

Performance Indicators

Session 121
November 02-13, 2015

Sittings

10

Bills Passed

1

Resolutions Passed

6

Attendance of the Prime Minister

None

Attendance of Leader of the House

10 sittings (100%)

Attendance of Leader of Opposition

7 sittings (70%)

Attendance of Members of Senate

60%

Amendment of NAB Law Tabled

On November 02, 2015, Senator Taj Haider, PPPP tabled the National Accountability Amendment Bill as a Private Members’ Bill to restrict NAB’s jurisdiction to Federal departments and ministries. The Bill was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights. Senator Haider stated that the 18th Amendment passed in 2010 provided for greater autonomy to the provinces and anti-corruption is now a residuary subject.

With already limited impact on social indicators of the 18th Amendment, and a growing disparity between the four provinces, PILDAT recommends that this amendment does not stand. Senator Haider undoubtedly introduced the amendment to improve the efficiency of anti-corruption agencies at the Provincial level. However, Parliamentarians ought to be wary of the fact that this may create disparities on the policies and procedures governing corruption. The governance of corruption ought to be uniform at the Federal and Provincial levels.

NACTA Functions without a Chairman

As part of its oversight activities, Senator Talha Mehmood, JUI-F, held the Government accountable for the inordinate delay in recruitment to the National Counter Terrorism Authority – NACTA, through a question posed on November 11, 2015. The agency has been without a formally appointed Chairman for the past six years, which is approximately how long it has existed. The Government informed the Senate that NACTA still has no service rules. To date, vacant posts are filled either from the Establishment Division or through fresh recruitment. Minister Baligh ur Rehman, while informing the Senate that new service rules had been prepared, did not indicate when they would be implemented.

The Provincial Assembly of Balochistan

Performance Indicators

Session 22
November 06-20, 2015

Sittings

6

Bills Passed

1

Resolutions Passed

4

Attendance of Leader of the House

The Balochistan Assembly has still not made MPAs attendance records public unlike other legislatures

Attendance of Leader of Opposition

Attendance of Members of Senate

Fair Distribution of Resources Resonate in Assembly

Legislators of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan passed four resolutions during the 22nd session. The resolutions focused on the equitable distribution of resources to the Province from the entire country. One issue that has resounded over the course of the third Parliamentary year in both Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has been that of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

On November 12, 2015, a resolution directed at the Federal Government to immediately allocate funds for the development of western route of the CPEC was passed unanimously. During the debate, Mr. Zamrak Khan, MPA, (PB-12, Balochistan, ANP) who tabled the resolution, noted that despite the declarations of the APC held in April that funds has not been allocated for the western route. All MPAs agreed with the sentiments shared with Former Speaker, Mir Jan Jamali, MPA, (PB-25, Balochistan, PML-N), that “Balochistan has to be the major beneficiary of CPEC.”2

Balochistan Assembly Calls for Gas Supply to Harnai

In line with the sentiments of Baloch MPAs regarding the fair distribution of resources to the province, the House adopted a resolution November 09, 2015 regarding gas supply to Harnai District and its adjacent areas. Sardar Raza Muhammad Barrech, MPA, (PB-4, Balochistan, PkMAP) tabled the resolution in light of the fact that gas reserves had been discovered in areas of Harnai district. The resolution justifiably refers to Article 158 of the Constitution that “The Province in which a well-head head of gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan.”3

The Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Performance Indicators

Session 15*
October 23, 2014 – Present

Sittings

7

Bills Passed

3

Attendance of Leader of the House

 

The KP Assembly has still not made MPAs attendance records public unlike other legislatures

Attendance of Leader of Opposition

Attendance of MPAs

*Information for the month of November 2015

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