KP lawmakers seem least interested in executive oversight during 21st session
ISLAMABAD: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly observed low interest of lawmakers in proceedings of the House along with their weak approach to oversee the performance of executive during the 21st session concluded after having 21 sittings in three months.
The session held from September 19, 2016 to December 20, 2016 was second longest session of the incumbent Assembly as 21 sittings were held during the reporting period as compared to 80 sittings held in the longest-ever 15th session starting in Oct 2014 and ending in Jan 2016 session.
The session observed low interest of MPAs in executive oversight as 33 percent starred questions lapsed due to absence of lawmakers while 16 CANs also remained unaddressed.
The Leader of the House (Chief Minister) attended only two sittings, consuming eight per cent of the session’s time while the Leader of the Opposition attended seven sittings, consuming 23% of the entire proceedings.
The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker remained present during 13 and 20 sittings, respectively and presided over 56% and 41% of the proceedings, while three percent of the session’s time was spent in breaks. Among the Parliamentary leaders, the PML-N lawmaker attended 17 sittings, followed by JI (15), ANP (12), QWP-S (9) and PPPP (5).
The quorum was pointed out 14 times during the session while the Chair had to adjourn the sittings on seven occasions. Three sittings remained suspended for 62 minutes after the pointation of quorum by lawmakers. On two occasions, the Chair ignored the call of quorum, however, it was found complete upon counting on two occasions.
The House took up 15 out of 31 Calling Attention Notices (CANs). The taken up CANs were regarding poor drainage system in Bannu; increase in shops’ fair owned by Auqaf Department; dilapidated conditions of schools in Kohat constructed by an NGO; provision of allowance to staff of Provincial Assembly and Civil Secretariat; unhygienic snacks being prepared in factories; upgradation of District Headquarters Hospital, Chitral Buni; provision of logistic support and ambulances to DHQ Hospital, Timergara; non-construction of roads in Chitral; utilization of Rs.17 billion from GP and Pension Fund; strict duty hours of security guards at educational institutions; non-payment of compensation amount to victims of Peshawar Church blast; dispute between the Forest Department and the owners in Malakand Division; suspending Insaaf food security program; problems in Gaddar to Gokand road extension and regularizing female teachers appointed through NTS in their native districts.
Out of 16 CANs that remained unaddressed during the session, six were lapsed; five were not taken up; two were deferred; one was dropped; while one was withdrawn by the mover and one remained pending.
The lawmakers raised 47 Points of Order (POs) that consumed three hours and 38 minutes. Out of 112 Starred Questions, 58 questions (52%) were taken up and responded to by the relevant ministries/departments, while the legislators raised 28 Supplementary Questions to gain further clarity on government’s responses.
Two instances of walk outs were witnessed during the session. The entire opposition staged a walkout for two minutes during the third sitting when the Chair did not allow an ANP lawmaker to speak on a police related matter. Similarly, the opposition lawmakers staged another walkout for 15 minutes during 13th sitting against the Chair’s attitude for not allowing a PML-N lawmaker to speak on a Point of Order.
A PTI lawmaker lodged protest by sitting in front of the dais for five minutes during 18th sitting against non-allocation of development funds and for not getting royalty on natural gas. The opposition lawmakers protested in front of the Chair’s dais for five minutes during last (21st) sitting, as the Speaker did not allow a PTI lawmaker to speak on a Point of Order.