ISLAMABAD: During the last session of the National Assembly (NA) Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman was asked about his attendance in parliament and he said “if the assembly would have been run properly, I would have attended sessions daily”.
On reaction to it the former leader of the opposition in National Assembly Khursheed Shah said “only those politicians who attend sessions are considered lawmakers”.
It seems like leaders consider parliament less important as they like to appear on electronic media more to give their views, reviews and fancy addressing their like-minded public gatherings.
And it may be the reason for the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government that on number of occasions the quorum breached and the government could not get passed many of its bills due to lack of numbers. The Sindh Assembly outclassed every other provincial legislature as it was the only assembly with maximum legislations.
According to the data compiled by Free and Fair Elections Network (FAFEN), Khan during his five-year term as MNA attended proceedings of the House for only 23 days out of its total sittings of around 533 in total 56 sessions.
This dismal attendance was not limited to PTI chief alone. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo during his stint as prime minister had total attendance of as much as 63 days till 43rd session of the NA following which he was declared disqualified by the Supreme Court in its verdict on Panama papers.
His nephew and son of former Punjab chief minister Hamza Shehbaz had attendance of around 31 days till the last session of the lower house of parliament.
The report also includes parliamentarians with most attendance and on this count Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmakers have been outstanding. The PPP’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Syed Naveed Qamar remained present 379 days in his five years term.
In addition to that senior leader of the party Khursheed Shah has been a great advocate of participation of lawmakers on the floor of the house. He had been stressing on Sharif to give importance to parliament by making sure his presence in it.
Shah had not only been advocating supremacy of parliament but he also had been practically attending its sessions and sittings very punctually. He turned up in the assembly for 376 days in his five-year term as MNA and as opposition leader.
Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party head Mehmood Khan Achakzai was another lawmaker and leader who has been echoing the statements of Shah over importance to parliament. He remained present on 412 days out of its total sittings. As far as attendance is concerned his presence in the assembly remained outstanding.
Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who was elected leader of the house after disqualification of Sharif turned up 206 days in the assembly’s total sittings as MNA.
As compared to party chief’s attendance it seemed more than satisfactory but in comparison with lawmakers of opposition his attendance seems just okay, reveals the report.
Jamaat-e-Islami leader Sahibzada Tariqullah superseded all the lawmakers and made his presence live for 428 days in the assembly.