ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif even after facing severe criticism from opposition benches for not attending National Assembly sessions could manage to attend only 22 percent sittings out of total 153 sessions.

The disinterest level could be gauged as Prime Minister missed 78 percent sittings of the National Assembly sessions till the end of one-and-a-half parliamentary year (15th session). The graph of PM’s attendance increased in only four last NA sessions.

The available data shared by ‘FAFEN’ shows that the Prime Minister remained at the top for not attending the National Assembly session among other important figures including opposition leader, Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

Speaker National Assembly Iyaz Sadiq remained at the top by attending 134 sessions out of total 153 till 15 sessions. Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah in this four prominent figures remained second by attending 123 sittings out of total 153. Iyaz missed only 19 sittings in total 15 NA sessions.

The opposition leader, almost breaking all the previous records of this seat, remained 80 percent present in the sessions, the figures available with The Nation reveal. Khursheed Shah, till 15th session, missed only 30 NA sittings.

Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi attended total 112 sittings out of 153. He remained absent 41 times out of total sittings.

Political observers said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has increased NA attendance due to much criticism from opposition benches. The protesting parties (PAT and PTI) sit-ins for last over two months have ostensibly compelled Prime Minister to attend the session, as in longest ever joint session of the parliament Prime Minister remained present.

Parliamentary source said that there were many lawmakers in the lower house who did not verbally participate in the proceeding of the house. Some of the lawmakers even did not utter a single word till the end of 15th session.

They said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also remained away from Punjab Assembly most of the time during the first parliamentary years. Shahbaz, in first parliamentary year, attended three sessions out of total 70 sessions. The sources said that opposition parties due to continuous absence of Prime Minister had once tacitly threatened to move article-64 against PM for abstaining from National Assembly sessions without getting formal approval for it from Speaker National Assembly.

According to clause two of Article 64, a member could lose his seat in case he remains absent from the house without securing proper leave from the Speaker National Assembly for 40 consecutive days.

Due to extraordinary pressure from opposition side, Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rasheed had also clarified that the PM was not attending the NA sessions due to his other pressing engagements.