What NA did in the last five years

Published Mar 16, 2013 04:24pm

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The National Assembly termed the Badami Bagh riots a national disaster. — File photo

Completing its five year term, the 13th National Assembly achieved a legislative agenda which altered the country’s governance structure by ensuring provincial autonomy and restoring the 1973 Constitution, and promoted women’s empowerment, says a Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) report on the five years performance of the lower house.

The lower house elected a woman speaker for the first time in Pakistan’s parliamentary history and the President addressed the joint sessions of the parliament for five consecutive years. Following the established parliamentary tradition, the Leader of the Opposition was elected as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

In 50 regular sessions, the National Assembly held 521 sittings — 100 in the first, 107 in the second, 108 in the third, 106 in the fourth and 100 in the fifth parliamentary year.

The National Assembly witnessed a historic change in the rules of procedure to allow standing committees to scrutinise ministerial budgetary proposals before being made part of the federal budget.

A new leader of the house was elected in the fifth parliamentary year after the Supreme Court disqualified Yousuf Raza Gilani in a contempt of court case. Similarly, in the fifth parliamentary year, 11 MNAs resigned on account of holding dual nationalities. Nine members of the lower house died during the five years, including Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti who was assassinated in Islamabad.

Legislation

In the five parliamentary years, the National Assembly passed 134 bills – 116 government and 18 private members’ bills. Out of these, 81 became acts of Parliament.

Though the National Assembly passed only five bills in the first parliamentary year, the legislation picked up pace in the second, third, fourth and fifth parliamentary years, with the lower house passing 32, 31, 29, and 37 bills respectively. Out of the total passed government bills, 56 sought amendments in the existing laws and the rest were new bills.

These included the 18th and 20th constitutional amendment bills, which helped restored the 1973 Constitution, ensured provincial autonomy and gave Pakistan a consensus mechanism for civilian transfer of power democratically, besides the formation of the full five-member Election Commission of Pakistan.

However, the four bills to tackle terrorism were passed only in the fifth parliamentary year and that too in the last three sessions. Similarly, the National Assembly failed to enact a new law on accountability despite the government introducing the National Accountability Act in October 2012.

The 13th National Assembly stands out for pro-women legislation, passing treasury and private members’ bills against domestic violence, harassment at the workplace and public places, anti-women practices, and elevating the status of the commission on women.

Unlike past assemblies, the lower house witnessed the healthy trend of passing private members’ bills. Overall, 189 private members bills were introduced in the house, with 135 seeking amendments in existing laws. Out of these, 18 bills were passed. Pakistan Peoples Party lawmakers introduced the most number of private members’ bills (62 or 33%) followed by 53 each by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) legislators.

Budget

The debate on budget lasted for 82 sittings during the five parliamentary years – 19 in the first, 14 in the second, 22 in the third, 17 in the fourth and 10 sittings in the fifth. On average, the budget debate lasted 16 sittings in each parliamentary year.

Resolutions

Out of total 243 resolutions moved in the lower house in these five years, 85 were adopted. Six resolutions on women’s rights and five each on minorities’ rights and blasphemy were adopted. Similarly, the lower house adopted resolutions on a host of issues such as Balochistan, increase in prices of petroleum products, child rights, killing of polio workers and journalists, democracy, attack on Malala Yousufzai, terrorism, human rights, situation in Swat, Nato’s attack on Salala check post, targeted killings, missing persons, the killing of Osama bin Laden and creation of new provinces.

Question hour

In the five parliamentary years, 216 legislators asked 16,056 questions on the floor of the house, on average 3,211 questions every year. The government fully responded to 12,623 questions, with 3,357 queries remaining ignored, 68 receiving partial answers, six withdrawn and two lapsed. In other words the government responded fully to 79% of the total questions submitted.

The main opposition PML-N asked the most questions, 9,903, which is 62 per cent of the total questions. More active in their oversight role, 20 female legislators from PML-N asked 5,347 questions – on average each of them asking 267.

Overall, 55 female legislators asked 8,138 questions compared to 161 male lawmakers asking 7,918 questions in the five years. Women parliamentarians elected on reserved seats fulfilled their oversight role, as they submitted almost 48 per cent of the total questions.

Calling attention notices

During the five parliamentary years, legislators brought to the House’s notice issues of urgent public importance — 109 in the first, 108 in the second, 120 in the third, 122 in the fourth and 84 in the fifth. Out of the 543 notices, the House took up 440 for discussion during the five parliamentary years.

Members’ participation

In five parliamentary years, 23 legislators, among them five women and 18 men, did not take part in any parliamentary business. Of them, eight belonged to each PPP and PML-Q, two to PML-N and ANP each and one each to Pakistan Muslim League - Functional and National People’s Party along with one Independent.

Points of order

A total of 311 lawmakers spoke on scores of constituency, national and international issues through 5,099 points of order in the five years.

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Comments (14) (Closed)


Pakistani
Mar 16, 2013 10:55am
The reason 23 MNA's did not take any part was because they were too busy serving the people of their constituencies and must have used their personnel resources to solve their problems since they did not even once asked for any funds from the government. They must have also donated their salaries to various charities and not used any of the perks and privilleges that they could have enjoyed or were entitled too. We as a nation should be extremely thankful to such unsung heros of ours although such sacrifices made can not ever be quantified. Therefore, i shall request DAWN to print the list of these legislators with their astounding achievement so that people should atleast be aware of their service to the country and am sure anyone who has an iota of partriotism will certainly say a special prayer for them.
Jabran
Mar 16, 2013 12:50pm
Look busy do nothing is what they did.
M.Asghar
Mar 16, 2013 02:02pm
If the parliament achieved all of this during its term, then, during this period, how did the country end up in total darkness both physically and morally?
tractable
Mar 16, 2013 05:33pm
What has happened to dawn news? Lat 5 years been the worst time for nation.
Ali abbas
Mar 16, 2013 06:49pm
You can't judge govt performance in a vacuum, look at the overall geopolitical situation to understand how extraordinary these achievements are. This govt came after over 10 years of military rule with no balanced or existing optical structure, after leader of the main political party was assassinated, military and ISI meddling continued, there is war going on in the neighboring country, seeds of terrorism that were sown during previous martial laws continue to be supported with powerful Arab countries and by our own intelligence agencies. Hyper political judiciary continued to exert it's influence with main focus on humiliating the govt. largest province continued to be in the hands on opposition parties, govt had to deal with major floods and earthquakes. You can keep saying that country is poorer but look around the wealth in many cities (and they are not all PPP ministers) and stock exchange has skyrocketed. You can be as biased as you want but if you look at the context you can't help but have some respect for the govt. completing 5 years and laying a foundation of democracy in itself is a major achievement. Unlike previous govts including past PPP govt there are no political prisoners and media if allowed to be fully free. I am not sure how you can ignore all that. I don't care if PP doesn't come into power again but they have ensured that there is a smooth transition of power.
Iftikhar Husain
Mar 16, 2013 07:16pm
With all this legislation people still waiting for their security.
sher muhammad
Mar 16, 2013 08:02pm
the country is facing a large number of crisis i. e. worst kind of power shortage, gas loadshedding, joblessness, highhandedness by America in the shape of drone attacks. Still there is a long list problems the people of this country are facing. Nothing concrete has been done for the poor masses. All shame on the parliamentarians.
dr junaid tipu
Mar 17, 2013 12:40am
Indeed we know what they did (not).......good riddence
Bbbb
Mar 17, 2013 01:02am
And what are the achievements?
Ghalib Khan
Mar 17, 2013 09:23am
All talk and no actual Work makes Jack a successful Parliamentarian
MSAlvi
Mar 17, 2013 10:55am
They were too busy fighting with each other, that they could not find time to do anything worthwhile for the country. Fire them all for ever and never bring them back.
Tahir
Mar 17, 2013 02:01pm
Hats off to madam Speaker Sahiba for keeping her composure and cool against some ungainly looking MNA's. I wonder what happened to Zulfiqar Mirza.
Shahid
Mar 17, 2013 07:40pm
I totally disagree with you its seems that you are living in a different planet where PPP unjustice to people of Pakistan goes unnoticed!
Abdur Razzaque
Mar 18, 2013 05:23am
What ever it is, everybody at least should praise the success of democracy in the country. In comparison of the success and failure the last ones feels heavy over of it. Still praise to the Almighty Allah (swt) for the fulfillment of their tenure. What ever the failures are today, Insha-allah tomorrow it will be achieved and the whole country would really be a safe place for everybody!