ISLAMABAD - Some senior parliamentarians of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have blamed their young peers for their disinterest in parliamentary affairs, which caused a lack of quorum issue in current National Assembly session for a record 39 times till the end of the fourth parliamentary year.

Perhaps for the first time in the parliamentary history, the lack of quorum was pointed out 73 times in four years. The incumbent government, having a two-thirds majority, faced embarrassment several times mainly due to the absence of its own MNAs in the house.

The non-availability of funds for uplift programmes and the non-availability of the prime minister for its own MNAs could be the main reasons of the disinterest of the MNAs in legislative business and the absence of most legislators in current National Assembly, background discussions with main ruling party MNAs left the impression.

Opposition parties, mainly the PTI, had caused embarrassment for the government by pointing out quorum for around 20 times in the mid of the NA session. Likewise, the PPP lawmakers followed the suit to tease the government on the quorum issue.

According to figures, the opposition parties mainly pointed out quorum for almost 80 times in four years and around half of the time succeeded in suspending the proceedings.

Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Pirzada said that many of the young parliamentarians from the ruling party were not taking the legislative business seriously. “The disinterest level of the MNAs in parliamentary affairs is alarming,” said Pirzada.

“The quorum-related matters had never been the issue in the previous parliaments, but now even sometimes the government has to face difficulties in maintaining the quorum to pass any bill,” said the minister, who is one of the most regular members of the parliament.

Pirzada along with Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid and Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab has often been seen much active for maintaining the quorum from the treasury side.

Talking to The Nation, another MNA from treasury benches said that some of the lawmakers from the government side avoid taking part in proceedings due to the non-availability of funds. Some of the MNAs despite being present in the parliament do not participate in the proceedings, tacitly exhibiting their annoyance with the government.

The FAFEN also claimed that around eight lawmakers from main political parties missed nearly 300 sittings of the National Assembly proceedings.

These figures also reveal dozens of legislators from lower house of parliament missed 200 proceedings (out f total 359) in four years.

 The breakup also show that the National Assembly sessions including 7th, 8th, 9th, 26th and 28th and others were twice suspended due to the lack of quorum in the current session.

A political czar viewed that although the government was responsible for maintaining the quorum, the opposition should not misuse the clause to point out quorum frequently. “It is not a good practice.

There are many other ways to embarrass the government. The government should also not give a chance this to happen frequently,” he said.

According to rules and procedures of National Assembly (Article-55), “At any time during a sitting, attention of the chairperson is drawn to the fact that less than one-fourth is present, he shall either suspend the business of the National Assembly, or cause the bells to be rung for five minutes  to maintain quorum”.