PM missed out on 70pc of NA sittings

  • PM recorded his longest attendance in the House during PTI’s sit-in while Shah managed to attend about 80pc of total sittings


According to the statistics gathered by Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif missed out on about 70 per cent of the National Assembly sessions while Opposition Leader Syed Khurshid Shah could not make it to 20 per cent of the total sittings of the House held during the second parliamentary year which ended last week.

The premier attended six sittings during the 12th NA session, one during 13th and seven during 14th. However, the premier attended nine sittings, his longest, during the third session, which was a joint session of the Parliament ostensibly called to counter Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s rebellion against the parliamentary system.

Moreover, the prime minister attended only two sittings of the 15th session, totalling nine days. The 16th session witnessed a glimpse of the chief executive, whereas he remained present for three days in the 17th session.

The data further showed that the PM did not attend the 18th session, which remained in session for nine days, also staying away from the 19th session (one-day session). He marked his presence for one day during the 20th session.

The second longest session (4th joint session), called on Yemen crisis, was graced by the prime minister for four consecutive days. Likewise, the premier attended the 5th joint session summoned for Chinese president’s address.

The last session of second parliamentary year (21st session), which ended on the note of opposition’s annoyance over government’s alleged discrimination in development programmes, was not attended by the premier at all.

The level of “disinterest” could also be gauged by the fact that PM missed 78 per cent sittings of the NA sessions till the end of one and half parliamentary year (15th session).

After facing severe criticism from opposition benches for not attending NA sessions, PM Sharif could manage to attend only 22 per cent sittings out of total 153 sessions.

The graph of attendance increased in only four last sessions as till the end of the first parliamentary year, the prime minister graced the floor of the house only eight times.

Owing to PM’s continuous absence, the opposition parties had once tacitly threatened to move Article 64 against PM for staying away from the assembly without getting a formal approval for it from the NA speaker.

According to clause two of Article 64, a member could lose his seat in case he remains absent from the house without securing a formal leave from the speaker for 40 consecutive days.

Due to opposition’s pressure, Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid had to clarify that PM was not attending the assembly sessions due to his “other pressing engagements”.

Furthermore, the figures reflect that NA opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah was no exception as he missed nearly 20 per cent of the assembly proceedings in the second parliamentary year.

Shah, who usually remains present during the NA sitting, remained absent from as many as 19 sittings of the lower house. However, Shah’s figures emerge better than his predecessor Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Moreover, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi attended nearly 90 per cent of the sessions.