High Attendance Marks Slow-Paced First 100 Days of Pakistan’s 16th National Assembly

The 16th National Assembly of Pakistan, which commenced its first 100 days following the oath-taking of legislators on February 29, has been characterized as “slow-paced despite high attendance,” according to a report published by the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). The assembly’s focus on “parliamentary transparency and gender responsiveness” was described as a defining characteristic of NA’s first 100 days.

The House encouraged bipartisanship by allocating nearly 54% of the time used for points of order to the opposition. Following the February 8 general elections, the Pakistani government descended into instability as no political party secured a clear majority. However, several of the winning parties formed an alliance with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), forming a coalition government at the Centre.

The PML-N, therefore, formed the federal government with the support of eight parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q), Istehkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), Pakistan Muslim League Zia (PML-Z), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and the National Party (NP). The House, however, still remains short of 26 members.

According to FAFEN, at least 23 sessions have been conducted in the lower house of the Parliament up until now, spanning over 66 hours and 33 minutes. The speaker and deputy speaker chaired 84% of the proceedings. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s low attendance rate is another point of concern. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has, so far, attended only two sessions, which makes up 10% of his attendance as compared to former premier and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan’s 29% in the first 100 days of his ousted government.

FAFEN added that the assembly elected its standing committee on May 17 after a month-long delay. In the first 100 days, only a money bill has been approved by the House. The Fafen report highlights that at least 159 members, or 51%, actively participated by sponsoring agenda items or participating in discussions out of the 310 members, 61% of which were females and 49% males. On average, 230 members were present in one session, with a maximum attendance of 302 and a minimum of 176.

The House addressed 76% of its business, including 20 legislative bills, 93 questions, 28 calling attention notices (CANs), and 11 resolutions. In his maiden speech, PM Shehbaz outlined his government’s plans for foreign relations, agriculture, economic affairs, tax reforms, energy, human development, and law and order.

This analysis of the first 100 days of the 16th National Assembly provides a comprehensive overview of the performance of the House. Despite the slow start, the emphasis on parliamentary transparency, gender responsiveness, and high attendance are positive indicators for the future. However, the potential dissolution of the National Assembly and the upcoming budget presentation are critical events that could significantly impact the trajectory of the current term.

Back to top button