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> PILDAT Report claims Ordinances outnumbered Acts of Parliament in 4 Years

September 03, 2007

Report: 4 Years Performance of 12th NA [PDF]

Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency – PILDAT has released the Citizens’ Report on the performance of the 12th National Assembly of Pakistan during the past 4 years (From 16 Nov 2002 to 15 Nov 2006). The report reveals that the National Assembly passed just 42 laws during the past 4 years with an average of around 10 per year compared to 73 Presidential Ordinances issued during the same period. The report considered the dominating role of legislation by Presidential decree detrimental to the sovereignty of the Parliament and Democracy in general. The report pointed out that Indian Lok Sabha passed 216 laws during 4 years but Indian President issued only 28 ordinances indicating a more stable parliamentary system and a more active and assertive parliament.


The Report also indicates that the Assembly met for an average of 82 actual working days per year calculated by disregarding the two-days break which is counted as working days by the Assembly to fulfil the constitutional requirement of meeting for minimum 130 days per year. The Assembly met for just 3 hours per day on the average.


The Government could answer only 22 % of the 40,000 questions asked during the 4 years. Rest of the questions were either ruled out of order or elapsed.


43 Standing Committees worked harder by holding about 200 meetings per year excluding the first year when these were not even constituted.


The report criticises the lack of effectiveness of the Budget Process of the Assembly as its debate remained superfluous and short. Standing Committees remained indifferent to budget process like the past assemblies. The defence budget was also kept under the wraps in keeping with the past traditions of the executive. Members failed to effectively scrutinise the budget or even prevent disguised legislation as a part of the money bill – a rather unethical tradition started by the present government since 2005-06 budget.


The report also expressed disappointment at the apparent lack of interest by members in general and Ministers and the Prime Minister in particular. The report noted that the Prime Minister seldom attended the Assembly Session and when he did, most of his time was consumed by listening to ruling party members’ complaints and signing their applications instead of paying attention to the proceedings of the assembly. The report, however, praised the assembly secretariat for relatively greater transparency as it published its performance report for the first time in the history of the National Assembly. PILDAT demanded that members’ attendance record and emoluments received by them should also be made public.