ISLAMABAD - The attendance of lawmakers in the Parliament continues to be an issue as, on average, 69 per cent members attended the Senate sittings during the outgoing parliamentary year 2019-2020.

The parliamentary year of the Senate ended on March 11 with completing its 110 working days as required under the Constitution. However, the house held actual 65 sittings in 10 sessions and three joints sittings during these total working days.

According to the Senate performance report compiled by its Secretariat, 71 lawmakers, on average, out of 104 member-house attended the sittings for the parliamentary year. At maximum, 100 senators attended the sitting on August 1, 2019 when the house voted on a no-confidence motion against Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani. The house on November 15, 2019 witnessed lowest attendance of the parliamentary year as only 55 lawmakers attended that sitting.

However, the house improved its attendance slightly as, on average, 66 and 64 members attended the sittings during the parliamentary years 2018-19 and 2017-18 respectively.

The house, on average, met for two hours and four minutes for each sitting during the outgoing parliamentary year. It met for five hours and six minutes for a maximum period of time in a single sitting and the minimum hours of its sitting remained only 15 minutes.

The Senate’s legislative performance during 2019-20 improved as compared to the preceding year. The house passed as many 31 bills including 19 government and 12 private member bills. Out of 12 private member bills, nine had been introduced in the parliamentary year 2018-19.

While, as many 26 bills were passed the preceding parliamentary year including 20 government and six private member bills.

The government introduced 5 bills in the Senate while the house received 22 government bills from the National Assembly during the year.

Total 34 private member bills were introduced in the house. Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Senator Mian Muhammad Attique Shaikh remained on the top as he moved eight private bills followed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senator Farooq H Naek who tabled three bills while  senators Ms Sassui Palijo (PPP), Ms Sherry Rehman (PPP), Sirajul Haq (Jamaat-e-Islami) and Rana Maqbool Ahmad (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) moved two bills each.

Overall, 45 resolutions compared to 31 in the preceding parliamentary year were passed by the house. A total of 288 resolutions were received by the secretariat, 228 resolutions from amongst those submitted were held as admissible, while 41 were held as inadmissible on technical grounds and 18 resolutions lapsed. The house dropped five resolutions due to absence of the member concerned.

At the same time, matters discussed through motions under Rule 218 of the house more than doubled from 11 to 27. In addition, a large number of points of public importance were raised during the Zero Hour.

 As many 386 meetings of Senate committees were held during parliamentary year 2019-20 compared to 196 in the previous year disposing of legislative business, exercising oversight on the executive, and intervening for relief to the public at large in various matters. The house referred 61 legislative bills to these committees and out of which 44 were disposed of and 17 bills were under consideration.

The house received total 2887 starred questions during the parliamentary year, out which 2668 were admitted, but only 603 were replied. As many 165 questions were disallowed, 54 lapsed, 42 questions were referred to the standing committees concerned and 2023 were admitted but lapsed. Starred questions deal with an oral answer by the minister concerned on the floor of the house.

The house received 16 un-starred questions which deal with the written reply of minister of the department or ministry concerned and only nine such questions were admitted, one disallowed, six lapsed and all nine were replied.

The Senate received 144 call attention notices, out of which 47 were admitted, 61 disallowed, 36 lapsed and ministers gave statements on nine notices.

The house received 76 adjournment motions and only four were admitted and discussed while 16 were disallowed and 56 lapsed. The senators moved 15 privilege motions while three were referred to the committee concerned and six were still lying pending and six disallowed.

The Senate Secretariat in a statement has claimed that its “outreach programs and initiatives continued with full zeal and vigour for the creation of awareness among public in general and youth in particular about participatory democracy” during this parliamentary year.