ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, even after facing severe criticism from opposition for his alleged disinterest in the parliament, attended only 19 sittings of the National Assembly during 2015.

The prime minister also remained at the top for not attending the National Assembly session among other important figures from his party (PML-N) including Speaker and Deputy Speaker and main ministers.

The data collected by ‘FAFEN’ and is available with The Nation, shows that Nawaz Sharif in the whole year (from 17th to 27th session) in total 98 sittings could only mark his presence for 19 times. He had attended 29 sittings out of total 102 sittings in 2014.

The PM skipped three four sessions (19th, 21st and 27th), which comprised 28 sittings to discuss important matters. He marked his presence for one time in three sessions of lower house (20th, 25th and 26th). It was the 23rd session National Assembly and 4th joint session of the parliament when he remained part of the proceedings for four days in both sessions, reveals the data.

The opposition has time and again criticized the PM for not sparing time for the parliament, as he attended the longest ever joint session regularly allegedly for his own interest. This longest joint session of the parliament, holding a total ten sittings, ostensibly continued for two weeks because of the anti-government sit-in of PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).

The sources said that opposition parties, in previous year, due to continuous absence of Prime Minister, had once tacitly threatened to move article-64 against the PM for abstaining from NA sessions without getting formal approval for it from NA Speaker.

Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rasheed had once also clarified that the PM was not attending the NA sessions due to his other pressing engagements.

The absence of some treasury benches ministers also caused embarrassment for the incumbent government, as opposition not only severely criticized this fact but also pointed out lack of quorum for this reason. The sittings of the house were adjourned for seven times due to lack of quorum, as the required strength was not present in the house despite the strict instructions of the prime minister.

The available data says that opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah remained at the top in main legislators of National Assembly as he attended 75 sittings out of 98 in 2015.

The data shows that PTI chief Imran Khan attended the National assembly session for one time. Pir Saddarudin Shah Rashdi (PML-F) and Sardar Kamal (National Party) attended 14 sittings. Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi from PML-Q marked his presence for 19 times.

Sahibzada Tariq Ullah from JI and Sheikh Rashid from AML remained at the top for attending the proceedings of the house with 65 sittings. Iftikhar Uddin from APML and Mehmood Khan Achakzai from PkMAP are second in the row by attending 61 proceeding of the house. Ghulam Ahmed Bilour from ANP and Ijazul Haq from PML-Z were the parliamentary leaders who remained at third for attending the 57 sittings.