ISLAMABAD: The Senate session was adjourned just after two hours on Friday because of lack of quorum, without making any headway in legislative matters.
Presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the upper house’s session was recessed after members of the opposition pointed out the absence of the required number of senators in the house.
The house would meet again on Monday next week.
The Senate session can be held only if one-fourth or 26 of its 104 members attend the session.
Relevant rules, especially Section 5 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate of 2012, dictated that lower than required number of senators would lead to an adjournment of the session.
A senator of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), requesting anonymity, said that senators were mostly disinterested in attending the budget session since the upper house had no practical role in the passage of the Finance Bill.
Although members of the Senate extensively debate the budget and make recommendations, it is the prerogative of the finance minister either to accept the Senate’s suggestions or reject them. The finance bill is only moved in the National Assembly for adoption.
“The debate on budget has been continuing for the past few days. Points relating to the budget have already been discussed. Everything that has previously been said is being repeated. This has caused monotony. This happens during budget sessions every year.”
However, he stressed upon the need for the finance minister to take the upper house into confidence over amendments in the Finance Bill, 2018.
“Unless government ministers start attending Senate sessions to brief the house on relevant issues, the lack of quorum will persist,” he said.
The senator also referred to assurances extended by Prime Minister Imran Khan during his first visit to the upper house.
Imran Khan had reiterated the need to strengthen the Senate’s functioning, and holding government functionaries, including ministers, accountable to parliament.
“The PM has to honour his commitment and chairman Senate has to assert his presence to assure that senators do not stay away from important sessions.”
Meanwhile, opposition reacted against remarks of Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in which he termed former rulers ‘thieves’.
The minister has already apologised over his remarks, but PML-N’s Senator Mushahidullah Khan asked the minister to tender apology in the Senate as well.
“Otherwise, the proceedings of this house would not … continue.”
Leader of the House in Senate Shibli Faraz agreed that the information minister’s remarks were derogatory and inappropriate. He assured the house that the government would pacify the senators.