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Senate ensures effective oversight, addresses important business in 2018-19.

ISLAMABAD -- Senate of Pakistan ensured efficiency in executive oversight, contributed quality debates on the issues of national importance and set precedent of punctuality along with impactful legislation during its 16th Parliamentary Year from March 12, 2018 to March 11, 2019.

According to the information shared by the Senate Secretariat regarding time duration and performance of the House during 16th Parliamentary year, a total of 13 Senate regular sessions (275 to 287) and two joint sittings were held. These sessions have a total of 111 working days comprising 78 sittings with a total of 203 hours and 10 minutes.

The maximum attendance of 103 out of total membership of 104 in the House was recorded on March 12, 2018 during 275th session while minimum attendance of 25 lawmakers was recorded on July 20, 2018 during 280th session.

Throughout the year, the average attendance of lawmakers remained 64.46 percent while average hours of sittings was two hours and 36 minutes.

Along with, the House ensured punctuality during the year and sittings began with an average delay of less than one minute.

The legislation enacted during the 16th parliamentary year focused on strengthening the social contract between the legislators and the constituents.

The members of the Parliament continued to act as agents of people and ensured that their rights are protected by the executive.

Furthermore the parliamentarians initiated a series of legislation aimed at not only addressing the lacunas in the existing legal framework but also introduced laws which were reflective of the evolving demographic and socioeconomic realities.

According to the Senate Secretariat, a total of 28 private members' bills and 15 government bills were introduced in the Senate.

The House passed five government bills introduced in the Senate while five private members' bills were also passed by the Senate after their introduction.

Moreover, the House witnessed presentation of seven ordinances laid while six private Members' Bills introduced in the Senate became Acts.

The House received seven government bills from the National Assembly during 2017-18 which were passed during the 16th parliamentary year while seven other bills received from the National Assembly during 2018-19 were also passed by Senate during the same year.

According to the website of Senate Secretariat, the 20 government bills passed by the House included the Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Bill, 2018; the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Prevention of Smuggling of Migrants Bill, 2018; the Institute for Art and Culture Bill, 2018; the Institute of Science and Technology Bahawalpur Bill, 2018; the Sir Syed (Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering) Institute of Technology, Islamabad Bill, 2018; the Establishment of the Federal Bank for Cooperatives and Regulation of Cooperative Banking (Repeal) Bill, 2018; the House Building Finance Corporation (Repeal) Bill, 2018; the Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Islamabad Healthcare Regulation Bill, 2018; the Health Services Academy (Restructuring) Bill, 2018; the Women in Distress and Detention Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017; the Juvenile Justice System Bill, 2018; the Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection Bill, 2018; the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Bill, 2018; the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking (Repeal) Bill, 2018; the West Pakistan Prohibition of Smoking in Cinema Houses (Repeal) Bill, 2018 and the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

The some of the important private members' bills passed by the House were the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018; the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill, 2017; the National Disaster Management (Amendment) Bill, 2017; the Day Care Centers Bill, 2018; the Federal Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and the Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Interest on Private Loans Bill, 2017.

The Senate received three thousand six hundred and eighty one (3681) Starred questions of which three thousand three hundred and one (3301) were admitted.

Of these questions, seven hundred and two (702) were replied by the Minister of concerned division/department/ministry, and nineteen (19) questions were referred to the concerned Senate Standing Committees for further consideration and report back to the House.

A total of 322 resolutions were received by the secretariat of which 266 resolutions were admitted by the House.

Of these admitted resolutions, the House passed 31 resolutions while six were dropped due to absence of relevant Senator and 29 were later held as inadmissible on technical grounds.

The remaining resolutions got lapsed during the year. The subject matter of the Resolutions varied from the socio economic issues faced by the public at large to the issues pertaining to the national security.

The House discussed 11 motions under Rule 218 while four were referred to the Standing Committees and three were dropped by the House.

A total of 361 motions under Rule 218 also got lapsed during this period. The motions discussed in the House were regarding taxes levied on petroleum products, healthcare system in the country, depreciation of Pakistani Rupee, political situation, low gas pressure in winter season, energy crisis, law and order as well as political situation, loans from foreign sources and foreign policy with regard to conflict in the Middle East as well as sit-in by religious parties, violation of human rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir, ecological environmental changes arising out of climate change and report of the State Bank of Pakistan about possible increase in inflation rate.

During the Parliamentary Year 2018-19, the Secretariat received 155 adjournment motions.

Under the rules and the Standing Orders, 38 adjournment motions were set down in the Orders of the Days for determination of admissibility out of which 21 adjournment motions were admitted on the issues of great national importance whereas 14 adjournment motions were discussed in the House and nine adjournment motions were dropped due to absence of the concerned Members.

One hundred and eleven (111) adjournment motions were held out of order as the same could not fulfill the criterion of admissibility laid down in the rules and procedure. Seven adjournment motions were lapsed as the same could not be brought on the Orders of the Day.

The Secretariat received 219 Calling Attention Notices on various issues out of which 134 notices were found in order under the rules and procedure.

Out of the admitted notices 68 calling attention notices were set down in the Orders of the Day out of which statements on 51 calling attention notices were made by the Ministers concerned in the House. Ten notices were referred to the concerned Standing Committees for consideration and report after finding the statements of the Ministers as unsatisfactory.

During the Parliamentary Year 2018- 19, the Secretariat received 17 notices of Privilege Motions out of which four motions were moved by the Members concerned in the House which after determination of admissibility were held in order by the Chairman and referred to the Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges for consideration and report. The remaining 13 motions have not so far been moved by the Members concerned in the House.

Points of public importance remained an important tool whereby the members of the Senate discussed and debated a range of issues affecting the common man. Furthermore, the adverse impact of policies of various government and regulatory bodies on the vulnerable segments of the society were also highlighted.

During this parliamentary year a total of 52 points of public importance were raised during Zero Hour whereby ministerial response was sought for 15 of these and the remaining 37 were referred to the Committees concerned.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Mar 29, 2019
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