The 121st Session of the Senate lasted 10 sittings. The session started on November 2 and ended on November 13, 2015. It was the fourth session since the Upper House of the Parliament started to share the attendance record of its members with general public. An unprecedented step towards transparency has already started to show improvement in the presence and participation of the Senators in proceeding of the Upper House – a prerequisite for any vibrant legislature that is responding to public aspirations and needs.
ISLAMABAD, October 14, 2015: With an average of 9% lawmakers present at the start and 27% at the end of each sitting, the 120th session of Senate passed four government bills and adopted seven resolutions, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). The session comprising seven sittings, started on October 5 and concluded on October 13, 2015. One sitting started on time while other started seven minutes behind the scheduled time and lasted three hour and 38 minutes on average.
ISLAMABAD, September 18, 2015: The 119th session of Senate was marked by low attendance of lawmakers during all five sittings, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). The session started on September 14 and was prorogued sine die on September 18, 2015 with almost all the sittings starting on scheduled time. On average, each sitting lasted three hours and 24 minutes with 19 (18%) lawmakers present at the outset and 26 (25%) at the time of adjournment.
ISLAMABAD, July 30, 2015: Seven bills were and passed and two resolutions adopted while the House continued to witness low attendance of the lawmakers, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN). The session spanned over five sittings, started on July 6 and was prorogued sine die on July 10. The session lasted for a total of 15 hours and 15 minutes. On average, each sitting started two minutes behind the schedule with 15 members present at the outset and 36 at the end.
ISLAMABAD, July 02, 2015: Forty-nine Senators did not take part in the debate on Federal Budget 2015-16 during 116th (budget) session of the Upper House that ended on June 17, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its Session Report on Thursday.
The 110th session of the Senate was marked by low attendance and participation of lawmakers and protest/walkouts over ministerial absence and changes in the proposed route of Pak-China Economic Corridor. As many as 54 (52%) out of 104 senators did not participate in the House proceedings. These included 20 legislators from PPPP; followed by PML-N (10); MQM (four); BNP-A, JUI-F and ANP (three each); PML (two); NP (one) and eight independent members. The session, comprising five sittings, started on January 30, 2014 and ended on February 6, 2015. On average, each sitting started 43 minutes behind the schedule and lasted two hours and 11 minutes.
Low participation and attendance of legislators, debate on the deadly terrorist attack in Peshawar and the passage of the 21st Constitution Amendment marked the 109th session of Senate that ended on Tuesday. More than one-third of the legislators did not participate in the House proceedings. These included 15 legislators belonging to the PPPP, followed by ANP (five), PML-N (four), BNP-A (three), JUI-F (two) and one each from MQM and PML in addition to eight independent members.
Discussion on policy and constitutional matters was the main concern of Senators besides law and order situation as they spent two fifths of the session time criticizing the government on the said issues through debates, says the Free and Fair Election Network in its report based on direct observation of the Senate. Through two Motions under Rule 218, the government received heavy criticism for its privatization policy and not pursuing Article 148(3) which directs federal government to protect its citizens.
The Senate ended its eleventh parliamentary year 2013-14 on 11th March, 2014. The Senate annual year 2013-2014 bore testimony to some crucial political developments in the country. The caretaker set up was in place in early 2013 to oversee the general elections. The elections led to first ever transition from a democratically elected government to another with the continuity of the Senate in perpetuating democracy. A distinguishing feature of the National Assembly Senate relationship after the General Elections 2013 is the dominance of opposition parties in the Senate. The Senate is in position to act as counterbalance on legislative developments.
Law and order and employment quotas in natural resource rich areas were the main concerns of Senators. Almost a third of the 100th session's duration was spent in the PPPP and ANP led criticisms of government, amid an overall atmosphere of low attendance and participation, says the Free and Fair Election Network in its report based on direct observation of the Senate.