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Islamabad, June 7, 2023 – The 51st session of the 15th National Assembly, which commenced on March 27, 2023, has become the longest session in the history of the current Assembly. As of now, the session is still ongoing, with a total of 39 working days and 31 actual sittings.

During this session, the National Assembly witnessed a diverse range of activities and debates, shaping the legislative landscape of the country. The session saw a maximum attendance of 205 Members on April 28, 2023, indicating the significance of the matters discussed. However, the minimum attendance dropped to 95 Members on May 8, 2023.

The House witnessed the oath-taking of Mr. Muhammad Mohsin Leghari as a member of the National Assembly on March 27, 2023, and welcomed him as the newest addition to its esteemed ranks. In terms of duration, the total hours of sittings amounted to an impressive 79 hours and 15 minutes. The longest sitting, lasting 6 hours and 10 minutes, occurred on March 28, 2023. Conversely, the shortest sitting lasted a mere 32 minutes on April 14, 2023. On average, each sitting lasted approximately 2 hours and 55 minutes.

In conjunction with the parliamentary activities, a total of 25 Bills were passed, including 16 Government Bills and 9 Private Members’ Bills. These legislative measures cover a wide range of issues and aim to address the needs and concerns of the nation including the following:

The Contempt of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) Act, 2023, is designed to address the need for punitive measures against individuals who fail to comply with the directives of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) or its committees. The Act aims to condemn and penalize actions that undermine the sovereignty and integrity of the esteemed House of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in any form. The Act is specifically designed to strengthen the Oversight function of the Parliament by penalizing those who willfully fail or refuse to obey any order or direction of a House or a Committee thereof; refuse to give evidence or record false statements before a Committee;  attempt or influence a witness either by intimidation, threat or use of force to prevent him from providing evidence, producing document or appearing before the Committee or the House; willfully violate any law prescribing the immunities or privileges of the Members; and fail to provide any document or submits tempered documents before the House or a Committee.

The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2023, is aimed at decreasing the menace of growing false information reports being registered against any individuals in the country. The Emigrants (Amendment) Bill, 2023, is passed in order to facilitate the intending emigrants by allowing them to appear in person or appear virtually for registrations of names by the Protector of Emigrants.

In the spirit of Parliamentary Oversight, 195 questions were asked by the public representatives on matters of public interest, and the answers were given on the floor of the House by the ministers or other representatives of the executive branch of the government. 

Furthermore, the House adopted 13 resolutions on significant matters and two motions under Rule 244 B of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007. These motions called for the formation of special committees to address specific issues. The session also witnessed a condolence reference in respect of the late Mr. Abdul Shakoor, a member of the National Assembly. The reference paid tribute to his contributions and services to the nation.

The upcoming Finance Bill 2023-24 i.e. the budget for the next year is expected to be presented in the same session, too.

Muhammad Asad Ayaz is a parliamentary functionary/researcher based in Islamabad. He tweets at @asadayaz_

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