ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday was adjourned within minutes and without taking up any agenda item due to lack of quorum pointed out by an opposition member in protest against the absence of ministers from the proceedings.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA from Karachi Agha Rafiullah pointed out quorum soon after the recitation from the Holy Quran and playing of the national anthem.
When the PPP MNA pointed out lack of quorum, less than 20 lawmakers were present in the 342-member house.
For maintaining the quorum, the presence of 86 members (one-fourth of the total house strength) is required.
“When you are to bring a tsunami of price hike, you bring the members to the house through telephone calls or whatever method,” said the PPP MNA in an apparent reference to the presence of the treasury members, including Prime Minister Imran Khan, on January 13 when the National Assembly passed 16 bills, including the controversial Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021, generally known as the mini-budget.
Pointing towards the empty treasury benches, Mr Rafiullah said when the house was to take up the issues of the public, not a single minister or the treasury members were present in the house. He said millions of rupees were spent on the assembly sittings, and the opposition had been frequently pointing out quorums, but these treasury members were not ready “to come into senses”.
“The house cannot be run in this way. Look, all the front three rows are empty,” said the PPP MNA while again pointing towards the treasury benches where the front three rows have been allocated for the prime minister and the members of the federal cabinet.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA from Mianwali Amjid Ali Khan, who was presiding over the sitting in the absence of both the speaker and the deputy speaker, ordered a headcount and suspended the proceedings till the completion of the quorum.
However, when the house resumed the proceedings after 30 minutes, it was still lacking the quorum, forcing the chair to adjourn the sitting till Tuesday afternoon (today).
Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2022