ISLAMABAD - The main strength of PML-N government for having two-third majority seemingly could not prove its weapon to deal with every move of the opposition in parliament.

The ruling party (PML-N) with its 189 MNAs and support of allied parties has to face embarrassment for 30 times in the National Assembly due to lack of quorum which led to suspension of the proceedings.

This government mainly faced 80 attacks from opposition side in form of pointation of quorum from major political parties in different sessions. The government could able to survive (maintain required strength) for nearly 31 per cent.

As, thirty times the proceedings was suspended that led to adjournment or prorogation of the house. Albeit pointing out quorum, during any part of proceedings, is the right of all members of the house but it was noticed that the government had to face difficulty during any important legislation when all of sudden opposition created difficult situation for government.

The government, in current 14th National Assembly, had failed to pay tribute to martyrs of ‘Defence Day’, as the Lower House was suspended due to lack of quorum. The house was about to adopt two resolutions when a PPP’s senior lawmaker Abdul Sattar Bachani interrupted and drew attention of the chair toward lack of quorum. The house due to lack of required strength was suspended.

In another incident, the government thrice failed to get “The Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Bill, 2016” passed due to lack of quorum in the house.  As, the opposition after terming it a ‘Save Nawaz Sharif bill’ dramatically left the house and one of its member pointed out quorum. The house was not in order and the chair has to adjourn the house as per rule.

The opposition pointed out quorum for 80 times mainly by the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf(PTI). PTI pointed out quorum for 43 times, PPP 18 times, Independent MNAs nine times, Jamaat Isalami (JI) three times, JUI-F two times, MQM two times and PML-N one time, the break-up made available to The Nation from independent entity FAFEN.

According to details from June 2013 to February 2017, the opposition side pointed out quorum 13 times in the 33rd session due to lack of strength in the house. The quorum was pointed out three times in both 7th and 8th sessions. The opposition pointed out quorum twice in 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th 17th, 18th, 21st, 35th and 36th.

When contacted PTI for pointing out quorum in the house, Shireen Mazari said opposition has maintained quorum throughout this National Assembly’s term. “Government has shown a complete lack of interest in NA and has sought to prevent NA from taking up relevant national issues in serious and timely debates,” she added.

MQM’s Ali Raza Abidi said the responsibility of maintaining quorum is on all parties. “Government’s members often missed during the passage of important bill and amendment as well,” he said. Abidi further remarked that Hamza Shahbaz Sharif might have attended the session even less than the Prime Minister. It is relevant here a sitting minister even blamed young lawmakers for their disinterest in parliamentary affairs, causing lack of quorum issue.

Talking to this newspaper, Minister IPC Riaz Pirzda had said the disinterest level of MNAs in parliament is alarming and the government should draw proper attention to it.

It was also reported that non-availability of funds for uplift programmes and non-availability of Prime Minister for its own MNAs are some of the main reasons behind lack of quorum issue in current National Assembly.