ISLAMABAD        -          Although the joint opposition got almost 60 per cent time in the current 15th National Assembly, during one and half years, but it could manage to get only one bill passed out of 64 private members’ bills introduced in the house.

Whereas PTI government, with majority of votes, managed to get passed 23 bills out of 34 bills introduced during the same period.

The figures [from the start of first parliamentary year till December 2019] available with The Nation, revealed that PTI government with its coalition partners got almost 40 percent time for legislation and speeches on different matter. Likewise, opposition was given floor for 60 per cent of the total time during almost one and half years.

According to legislative business of current National Assembly [till December], as many as 29 resolutions were accepted by the House. The government side presented 20 resolutions and opposition moved nine on different issues.

The pace of legislation remained slow till end of the first parliamentary year [ended on 12 August], as the government side could managed to introduce only 21 bills and only nine were passed from the house. Out of nine bills, only seven became act of the parliament. The government laid four ordinances and 26 resolutions were adopted in first parliamentary year.

The available figures show that 720 starred questions and 110 un-starred questions were moved during the question-hour session of the National Assembly during this period. The assembly, in this period, experienced delay of five months and 23 days in formation of its standing committees.

The opposition parties, in most of the sittings, engaged in worst kind of verbal brawls with government members. The opposition members staged protests and walkouts on non-issuance of production order for their party members. The other walkouts and protests were observed on price-hike, inflation and some other matters.

In a significant development, the opposition compelled government to withdraw nine ordinances passed from the house without proper legislation. The government side had to refer these bills to the standing committees for debate and vetting of bills when the opposition took back no-confidence motion

In one and half years of current legislature, some main opposition parties’ members (PPP-P and PML-N) were arrested on different charges. PPP-P Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Khursheed Ahmed Shah, PML-N’s senior members Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah, Khawaja Saad Rafique and two members from North Waziristan Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir were arrested.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had issued production orders of only PPP-P Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N’s senior member Khawaja Saad Rafique by allowing them to participate in proceedings of the lower house. Rest of the arrested members Rana Sana and others could not attend proceedings even for a single time after their arrest.

The significant legislation was related to The Finance Act, 2019; The Constitution (26th Amendment) Act, 2019 (FATA reforms); The Heavy Industries Taxila Board (Amendment) Act, 2019; The Elections (Second Amendment) Act, 2019; The Finance Supplementary (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Elections (Amendment) Act, 2019; The Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Act, 2019; The West Pakistan Prohibition of Smoking in Cinema Houses (Repeal) Bill, 2019; The West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking (Repeal) Bill, 2018; The Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Act, 2018; Muslim Family Law, Letters of Administration & Succession Certificates, Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights; Whistleblower Protection & Vigilance Commission, Legal Aid and Justice, Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery and others.

Political and constitutional experts viewed that the reason behind slow legislative business is slow working of standing committees of National Assembly.