ISLAMABAD: The government again failed to meet the minimum number of lawmakers required to run the National Assembly proceedings on Thursday and the speaker continued to criticise the absence of the ministers and members of the treasury benches.
It was the third consecutive day when the quorum was found incomplete and the sitting was adjourned.
Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq has been repeatedly expressing his disappointment over the dismal attendance of the ministers and lawmakers of the treasury benches. However, the government has been failing to meet the required number during most of the sittings in the ongoing session, except the first held on Monday.
The sitting remained suspended for about half an hour after quorum was pointed out by a Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker, which led to a headcount. The quorum could not be met when the proceedings resumed and the sitting was adjourned till Friday.
The speaker presided over the sitting for around 40 minutes, while the rest of the proceedings were chaired by the deputy speaker and a member of the Panel of Chairpersons.
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The Right of Access to Information Bill, 2017 was taken up by the house and two lawmakers spoke on it for a few minutes.
The house did not take up a bill, a motion under Rule 259 that allows the member to discuss a policy, situation, statement or other matter, a motion of thanks and two calling attention notices that were on the agenda.
Earlier, in the question hour, Interprovincial Coordination Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada informed the house that the subsidy on fertiliser had been increased to Rs39 billion in the last fiscal year to support the agriculture sector. He said cash subsidy of Rs100 per bag was being provided to the farmers on urea fertiliser in the current year.
The minister said a subsidy of Rs5,000 per acre was provided to cotton and rice growers in 2015-16.
National Health Services Minister Saira Afzal Tarar informed the house that 8,074 cases of HIV-AIDS had been reported in the country during the one-and-a-half years between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017.
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Of the cases, 3,878 were reported in Punjab, 2,521 in Sindh, 881 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 503 in Islamabad and 291 in Balochistan.
The minister also offered cooperation of the federal government to tackle the issue of dengue virus in K-P. “If the cooperation of the Punjab government is not wanted then we are available to give cooperation to control dengue virus in the province,” she stated.
The health services ministry said in a written reply to a question that the federal government was taking steps to provide safe, effective and quality medicines to the people and supporting the provinces in eradicating spurious drugs.
The house was informed that the federal and provincial governments drew samples from the manufacturers’ premises, public and private hospitals, nursing homes and other places.
The federal and provincial drug testing laboratories analysed 41,997 samples during the first half of 2017 and 49 (0.11%) of them were declared spurious. During the previous year 74,031 samples were analysed and 97 (0.13%) were found spurious, while the figures for 2015 were 43,933 and 252 (0.57%).
The house was informed that 8,229 cases of violation of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan Act, 2012 and the Drugs Act, 1976 have been launched in drug courts since 2015 against manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and others, of which 4,835 were decided and fines of over Rs198 million imposed.
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