Pakistan News

For first time, Sindh PA fails to meet for 100 days in parliamentary year

KARACHI: For the first time in the past many years, the Sindh Assembly met for less than 100 working days in the current parliamentary years.

While the Rules of Procedure of the Provincial Assembly clearly stated that “the house shall meet for not less than one hundred working days in each parliamentary year”, it remained in session for just 71 days in the current parliamentary year ending on Aug 12 (tomorrow).

The rules for sittings of the assembly says, “There shall be at least three sessions of the assembly in a parliamentary year and not more than 120 days shall intervene between the last sitting of the assembly in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session.”

Sub-rule 1 of Rule 28 of the Rules of Procedure said: “Provided that the Assembly shall meet for not less than one hundred working days in each parliamentary year.”

Sindh Assembly remained in session for 71 days during year ending tomorrow

The Sindh Assembly had a reputation of following the rule as it had remained in session for 100 days even during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the first parliamentary year of the current tenure that began in 2018, the provincial assembly remained in session for 130 days, 101 days in the second parliamentary year and 100 days in the third parliamentary year. However, it remained in session for only 71 days in the fourth parliamentary year.

The assembly also failed to meet as per the schedule given in the assembly rules, which stated that the assembly shall meet for not less than 15 days in June, not less than 12 days in September and December, and not less than seven days in August, October, November, January, February, April and May.

Similarly, the Sindh Assembly did not observe the timings of sittings from 10am to 2pm as per the assembly rules.

All sittings of the assembly sessions during the current parliamentary year started with a considerable delay of over one hour. Only one sitting could begin with a delay of half an hour.

While the first spell of monsoon rain began on July 4, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla told Dawn that the assembly could not meet for 100 days as per assembly rules mainly due to devastating rains of monsoon season.

“All the assembly members belonging to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and provincial cabinet members remained in field in their respective areas during the rains as directed by the party leadership,” he said, adding that it was impossible for the members to attend the assembly sitting as they were engaged in relief and rehabilitation work.

“There has been 180 per cent more rain during this monsoon season,” he said.

Mr Chawla recalled that there were still 60 days to meet in the current parliamentary year when the assembly session was summoned on June 14, but, he pointed out, sessions had to be adjourned three times for 10 days due to rain emergency.

Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh said that it was a failure on part of the provincial government that it could not ensure the meeting of the assembly for 100 days as required by the assembly laws.

“Their [provincial government] seriousness in legislation can be judged from the lone fact that the assembly did not meet for the required days,” he added.

Mr Sheikh said that the PPP’s provincial government had turned the house into an ‘autaq’ for feudal lords, where house business was not carried out as per law and assembly rules.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022

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