|Watching the watchdogs: NA deputy speaker decries findings of FAFEN|
15 September 2012
ISLAMABAD: Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi on Friday took exception to the findings of the Free and Fair Election Network (Fafen), which claimed that more than 75% of the items on the agenda were not discussed in the recent lower house session.
“We disagree with what Fafen has stated in its report,” Kundi said referring to the NGO’s revelations about the 45th NA session which concluded on September 13.
Fafen claimed that 79% of the items on the Orders of the Day remained unaddressed after deliberations over the law and order situation, increase in fuel prices, local government ordinance, factory fire in Karachi and recently released blasphemous video took up most of the time.
Kundi, however, refuted the claims. “We took good care of the agenda. Sufficient time was also allocated for the question hour and points of order. It (the report) could be their personal view, but it’s not a reality,” he said.
Responding to a question about the debate on law and order not being taken up more than once, Kundi said the interior minister had requested an in-camera briefing and that the issue would be taken up again in the next session.
According to the report, only three parliamentarians Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Khawaja Saad Rafiq and Nadeem Afzal Gondal participated in the debate that was initiated on a resolution moved by Interior Minister Rehman Malik. “We stand by our findings,” said a Fafen official requesting anonymity when contacted for comments.
About the procedure for preparing the report, the official said Fafen observers attend the session and then compile data. He added there were 111 items on the list of agendas for the last session, but only 23 were taken up.
According to the findings, the prime minister attended three sittings for a total of 76 minutes (6% of the session time) while the leader of the opposition attended two sittings for 36 minutes (3% of the session time).
The speaker of the house chaired the session for 24% of its total time, while the deputy speaker chaired it for 53% of the time. For the remaining time, the session was presided over by members of the panel of chairpersons.
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