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Low attendance in parliament

The lack of interest by the parliamentarians in the proceedings of National Assembly is a cause of really worry. The assembly often presents a sorry picture as the honored parliamentarians stay away. The 342-seat house needs a minimum number of 86 members to conduct the proceedings; however in the most recent session the house did not seem to exceed even fifty members at one time. The situation is similar in provincial assemblies with parliamentarians abstaining from appearing in the assembly, seemingly too occupied with other important matters. The attendance figure in the latest session of Balochistan assembly didn’t exceed fifty-percent at any stage. Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shehbaz Sharif recently graced the Punjab Assembly with his presence to vote for the senate elections, the assembly was honored by his presence for the first time in nearly eight months.

The parliamentarians who are sent to the corridors of power by the voters have a great responsibility on their shoulders, but the menace of absenteeism from the parliament suggest that the honorable members give much importance to something as trivial as attendance in the parliament. If a government servant comes late for his duty he is reprimanded, in any department late arrival is harshly dealt with but the parliamentarians seem to be above criticism and responsibility. The attendance statistics of the National Assembly do not constitute public record according to the National Assembly Secretariat. It is the right to know of every citizen the commitment and dedication of the Members of the Parliament towards their legislative duties, for which they have been elected through an electoral process. In our neighboring country India, the daily attendance of all members is posted on the official website as publicly available information. This transparency leads to greater respect for the institution itself. It is a dilemma that law-makers are not indulging in the parliamentary business with true spirit. What legislations they would propose for human rights and good governance without visiting the parliament.

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