Senate’s 334th Session: Deep Concerns Arose Over Delayed 12th General Election


Senate’s 334th Session: Deep Concerns Arose Over Delayed 12th General Election


  1. The Senate met for 9 hours and 22 minutes in 5 Sittings during 334th Session
  2. Average time per sitting recorded at 1 hour and 52 minutes
  3. Longest sitting of 334th session held for 4 hours and 42 minutes: shortest sitting lasted for only 05 minutes
  4. No bill passed during the 334th Senate Session
  5. 23 bills were introduced including 21 being private members’ bills and 2 government bills
  6. The Senate passed three (3) Resolutions

Working Hours

The 334th session of the Senate began on December 26, 2023 and was prorogued on January 5, 2023. During the session spanning 10 days, 5 sittings were convened. The schedule of the sittings during the session is given in Appendix A.

The 334th Sessions of the Senate was convened for 9 hours 22 minutes with an average time of 1 hour and 52 minutes per sitting. The longest sitting of the session was held on Friday, January 05, 2024 when the House was adjourned after meeting 4 hours and 42 minutes. The shortest sitting was held on Friday, December 29, 2023 when the House was adjourned due to quorum pointed out and meeting for only 05 minutes.

The average delay in starting a sitting was 2 minutes during the session.

Agenda Items Left Over

14.57 agenda items were left over during the 334th Session of the Senate.


Quorum was pointed out twice during the session on December 26 and December 29, 2023 respectively. On both occasions, sittings were adjourned due to lack of quorum. In the sitting held on December 26, only 29 members were found to be present. The sitting held on December 26 adjourned after 1 hour and 8 minutes, while the sitting on December 29 adjourned after only 5 minutes, both due to lack of quorum.


Senator Dr. Shahzad Waseem, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Punjab, PTI) attended 3 or 60% sittings of the 334th session. He was followed by Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Leader of the House (Punjab, PML-N) who attended only 1 or 20% sitting. On average, 36 Senators were recorded as present during the 334th session.

Top 5 Vocal Senators

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed (KP, JIP) was the most vocal Senator during the 334th session with a recorded talk time of 41 minutes. He was followed by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi (KP, PPPP) who spoke for 40 minutes. Senator Saadia Abbasi (Punjab, PML-N) spoke for 35 minutes. Senator Shahzad Waseem Leader of the Opposition (Punjab, PTI) spoke for 33 minutes. Senator Shahadat Awan (Sindh, PPPP) spoke for 29 minutes during the session.


During the 334th session, no bills were passed. However, a total of 23 bills were introduced, comprising 2 government bills and 21 private members’ bills. All introduced bills were referred to relevant standing committees. The caretaker government successfully moved to introduced two bills in the Senate titled The Banking Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2024 and The Deposit Protection Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2024 despite facing strong opposition from lawmakers questioning their authority to make parliamentary decisions.

The Banking Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2024 is aimed at strengthening the State Bank of Pakatan’s (SBP) regulatory capital regime, promote financial inclusion, facilitate convenient access to unclaimed deposits and relevant data to the general public and make the process of filling complaints with the Banking Mohtasib simple and swift.

The Deposit Protection Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2024 is aimed to amend the existing law by enhancing role of fund contribution by the Cooperation for resolution and inclusion of microfinance banks in DPC’s ambit.

During the sitting, Chairman Senate, Senator Sadiq Sanjrani allowed Caretaker Information Minister, Mr. Murtaza Solangi to present two bills, which were then sent to the relevant committees for review. Previously, the caretaker governments could not get the bills to move forward in the House because many lawmakers from different political parties strongly opposed them.[1]

After the date of General Election was finalized for February 8, 2024 between the President and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) under the directives of the Supreme Court, a resolution seeking to postpone the polls due to security concerns was introduced by an independent Senator Dilawar Khan during in the last sitting of the session held on January 5, 2024, with only 15 lawmakers present. Senator Afnan Ullah Khan of the PML-N opposed this non-binding resolution. Senator Dilawar Khan, as he read out the resolution, emphasized that the ECP’s essential constitutional duty is to ensure free and fair election by representing all regions. He highlighted concerns about harsh weather conditions hindering voter participation and cited reservations from various political parties regarding difficulty in mobilizing voters in colder areas. Meanwhile, independent Senator Hidayatullah Khan stated that he had registered nine (9) first information reports in preceding two weeks over threats he had received. “If there was consensus that election could be delayed, what would have happened? Did any party have anything against terrorism in their manifestos? At least, this should have been communicated to the nation first,” said Senator Hidayatullah Khan. “Chairman sahib, if this house has passed a resolution, it should have been valued,” he emphasized. “We were dying, the Baloch and Pashtun were dying, but no one cared. We didn’t have the strength to pick up any more bodies,” said Senator Hidayatullah Khan. Senator Manzoor Ahmed (Balochistan, BAP) said that there was no denying that Pakistan’s security and economic situation had worsened over time. “We could not ignore terrorism, and if we did so, the nation wouldn’t forgive us. The rise in terrorism in KP in the last few days was in front of us. If we closed our eyes, the damage would be more,” he said. [2]

The resolution, however, was widely criticized after its passage by all major parties. The PML-N reiterated that it opposed the resolution and wanted General Election to be held, as scheduled. Senator Irfan Siddiqui (Punjab, PML-N) said that the resolution did not bear the endorsement of any specific party within the Senate. “In a chamber of 100, the opinions of a select few could not be equated with those of the majority. The PML-N viewed this resolution neither as a reflection of the Senate’s stance nor as supportive of any postponement of the polls, which was believed to be against the national interest,” he said. The PPP also distanced itself from the resolution and in a press conference, Senator Sherry Rehman said that the party wanted timely elections. The PTI’s Barrister Gohar Khan said that “a resolution of 14 Senators based on their personal opinions, has no legal or binding force in the constitutional process of holding general elections.” [3]

Time Consumed on Discussion of Policy Issues during 334th Session

The effectiveness of the session’s time utilization can be assessed by examining the duration dedicated to discussing significant matters of democratic governance. During 334th session of the Senate, total time consumed for discussion on policy issues spanned over 4 hours and 45 minutes. The maximum time consumed in discussing policy issues was on a resolution to delay the general election due to terrorism and cold weather for 1 hour and 08 minutes.

It must be noted that PILDAT has classified that a policy issue is such that involves any recommendation on devising a policy. Any discussion on an issue that does not go beyond mere criticism or highlighting a concern does not fall into policy issue and is treated as discussion or time spent on non-policy issues.

Table 1: Time Consumed on Discussion of Policy Issues

  1. Sardar Sikander Shaheen, “Banking Cos and Deposit Protection Corp: Caretakers ‘manage’ to move two bills in Senate, Business Recorder online, January 02, 2024, accessed February 16, 2024.

  2. Nadir Guramani, “Amid thin attendance, Senate passes resolution seeking delay in elections.” Dawn online, January 5, 2024, accessed February 19, 2024.

  3. All sides united in their opposition to poll delay, Dawn online, January 6, 2024, accessed February 20, 2024.