ISLAMABAD: What would you do if one of your employees only showed up for work only for two days every month – but you pay him/her for 30 days?
That is what PTI supremo Imran Khan has been doing – attending the National Assembly barely for the last almost three-and-a-half years despite being an elected representative of over 0.25 million registered residents of NA-56.
During this period, the National Assembly collectively held 374 sittings [comprising of 36 regular sessions and 10 joint sessions of parliament] of which Imran Khan attended only 22 – almost a little less than six per cent of the total sittings.
However, he continues to draw salaries and other privileges an MNA is paid out of the national kitty.
His overall performance in the National Assembly includes: eight times he spoke on matters related to the government on motions under Rule 18 [Rule 18 of the National Assembly’s Rules of Procedure allows the speaker to let members raise matters which concern the government], on seven occasions he participated in regular proceedings, he spoke on points of order eight times, and he asked only two questions for their written replies from federal ministries.
During the 2013 general elections, he contested four constituencies – he won on three and lost on one – and retained his seat of NA-56 (Rawalpindi).
The Express Tribune has compiled details of Khan’s overall performance using details available on the National Assembly website [attendance of the MNAs], NA Secretariat, and data available with the Free and Fair Election Network.
On-going parliamentary year
The 14th National Assembly has almost completed three-and-a-half parliamentary years. In NA, a parliamentary year starts from June 1 and ends on May 31 every year.
During almost first six months of the on-going 4th parliamentary year, some four regular sessions and three joint sessions of parliament [comprising of a total of 49 sittings] have been held.
And Imran Khan attended the lower house only once during this time period – that is on September 8 during fifth sitting of the 35th session of the NA and his activity was limited to speaking once on a point of order on that day. He also skipped the budget session.
His attendance record shows that he came to the National Assembly on September 8 to avoid de-seating from the house because if a parliamentarian remains absent without leave for 40 consecutive days of a sitting, then he/she can be de-seated under Clause 2 of Article 64 of the Constitution.
He also did not attend three joint sittings – one each addressed by the Turkish president, the president of Pakistan and another convened to denounce human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
3rd parliamentary year
During the third parliamentary year, 11 regular sessions and two joint sessions of parliament were held consisting of a total of 119 sittings. Of these, Khan attended only five. He was absent for 80 days and availed leave for 34 sittings.
During five days of his presence in the assembly during the whole year, he participated in the house proceedings twice
2nd parliamentary year
It was the year when Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf opted for the first boycott of parliament due to its 126 days-long sit-in the party had staged in Islamabad to protest alleged general election riggings.
During this year, 11 regular sessions and four joint sessions were held comprising 109 sittings. Khan attended the house only four times.
1st parliamentary year
Seeing Khan’s worst performance during 2nd, 3rd, and 4th parliamentary years, one can say his performance was relatively “good” during the first parliamentary year.
Khan attended 12 sittings out of 96 held during the parliamentary year 2013-14. And he was absent for 84 days. He asked two questions related to commerce and defence ministries and he got replies from the government.
He spoke seven times on different points of order related to governance, foreign relations, democracy and politics, etc. Besides, he also participated in regular proceedings five times. He also took part in proceedings five times through motion under rule 18.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21st, 2016.