ISLAMABAD: Over 74 per cent questions asked by senators during the parliamentary year 2021-22 that ended on March 11 remained unanswered, a perusal of the annual report placed on the official website of the parliament’s Upper House reveals.

According to the report, as many as 1,579 questions were received out of which just 409 (25.90 per cent) could be answered. Of the total 1,579 questions received 1,113 (70.49pc) were admitted, 270 (17.09pc) were disallowed and 196 (12.42pc) lapsed on prorogation of session. Another 666 (42.17pc) questions had been admitted, but lapsed.

The report reveals that the Senate met only for 161 hours during the parliamentary year.

Report of 2021-22 parliamentary year reveals house met only for 161 hours

Since a break of two days during a session is counted towards meeting days, the number of actual sittings was just 56 as against 110 ‘working days’. The senators are paid their daily allowance for all the days counted towards the meeting days.

The House during the parliamentary year passed 27 bills, which were received from the National Assembly, whereas 13 private members bills were also adopted by the House. Besides, laying of 14 ordinances in the legislature and the opposition despite its numerical strength had to face defeat on crucial pieces of legislation.

The year was marred by the Covid-19 restrictions, besides walkouts, lack of quorum and allegations and counter-allegations.

More significantly, the otherwise opposition-dominated Senate witnessed adoption of the key government’s bills, including the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Bill and the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill and State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and Ogra amendment bill.

The House standing committee on finance and revenue topped by holding 32 meetings in the year, followed by the committee on national health services with 17 meetings and Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Power held 16 meetings each. Four standing committees could meet just for two times and this includes the one on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Interestingly, no government bill was introduced in the House. A total of 58 government bills were received from the National Assembly and 25 of them were passed in the joint sitting of the Parliament’s two chambers. One government bill received from the NA was pending for consideration by the House. Nine bills were pending with the respective standing committees.

Four money bills received from the National Assembly were Tax Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021, Finance Bill, 2021, Tax Laws (Third Amendment) Bill, 2021, and Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2022

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