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In a PILDAT comparative assessment of performance of Pakistan's four provincial assemblies in their first year after the 2018 general election, the provincial assembly of Sindh has outranked other provincial assemblies in holding sessions for most days during the first year. Provincial assembly of Sindh has also met for 91 working days during the first year, followed by the Punjab Assembly, which met for 77 working days, KP Assembly which held its sessions for 61 working days during the year and Balochistan assembly, having met for 51 working days during the first year after formation.

Provincial assembly of Sindh leads other provincial assemblies in terms of number of working hours during the year. It has met for 303 hours during the first year, with an average 3.20 hours per sitting. Compared to that, provincial assembly of the Punjab has met for 172.31 hours during the year, ranking second on total number of hours met during the year. It has met for an average of 2.14 hours per sitting. Provincial assembly of Balochistan ranks at number 3 for meeting 167.09 hours during the year. It has met for an average of 3.16 hours per sitting. Provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ranks last for meeting 151.48 hours during the year. It has met for an average of 2.29 hours per sitting during the first year.

Provincial assembly of Balochistan leads other assemblies in terms of presence and attendance of Chief Ministers in the assembly sessions and proceedings during the first year.

Chief Minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan, MPA, attended 31 out of 51 or 60.78%, sittings of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan. Sindh Chief Minister, Murad Ali Shah, MPA, was present in 37 out of 91 working days or 40.66%, Chief Minister Punjab, Sardar Usman Ahmed Khan Buzdar, MPA, was only part of 12 out of 77, or 15.58%, sittings of the Punjab Assembly during the year while Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mahmood Khan, joined 9 out of 61, or 14.75%, sittings of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

At the other end of representation, Provincial Assembly of Balochistan also leads other Assemblies where, Malik Sikandar Khan, MPA, Leader of the Opposition in the Balochistan Assembly, has attended 41 out of 51, or 80.39% sittings of the Assembly.

Syed Firdous Shamim Naqvi, MPA, belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, has attended 67 out of 91 or 73.62% sittings of the Assembly. While KP ranks fourth in all Assemblies in terms of attendance of sessions by KP Chief Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Akram Khan Durrani, MPA, belonging to MMA, has attended 44 sittings, or 72.13%, in the KP Assembly and therefore ranks third in Provincial Assemblies.

The least number of sittings joined by a Leader of the opposition in 4 Provincial Assemblies are by Muhammad Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, MPA, belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, who has attended 20 out of 77 sittings, or 25.97%, in the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab during the first year. Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has ranked on top with most bills passed during the year. The Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has passed 30 bills, followed by Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, with 17 legislations passed, Provincial Assembly of Sindh having passed 12 bills and Provincial Assembly of Balochistan which has passed 8 bills during the first year.

Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was also the first Provincial Assembly which formed its Standing Committees after the General Election, in November 2018, almost after 3 months of its formation. Provincial Assembly of the Punjab ranks second for forming its Standing Committees in January 2019, after almost 5 months of Assembly formation. It took Provincial Assembly of Sindh a little over 7 months to form its Standing Committees while Provincial Assembly of Balochistan has maintained its tradition of most amount of delay, though a close second to Sindh Assembly, for forming its committees at the end of March 2019.

Out of the 4 Provincial Assemblies, only two Assemblies, namely Punjab and KP, transparently provide attendance figures of respective MPAs while both Provincial Assembly Sindh and Balochistan do not provide figures on average attendance of respective MPAs in Assembly sessions.

Of the two assemblies providing figures on attendance of respective MPAs, KP leads in percentage of attendance of MPAs in Assembly session with 75% attendance or an average of 93 MPAs attending Assembly sessions, followed by Punjab where 57% of MPAs, or 211.38 average attendance of MPAs in Assembly sessions. The Punjab Assembly, however, has attained the dubious distinction of non-transparency in introducing and passing a bill on increase in salaries of MPAs during the first year.

While all other proceedings, legislation and other details on performance of the Assembly are available on the website of the Assembly, the bill of increase in salaries of MPAs has not been made publicly available on the website. Provincial Assembly of Sindh has spent most number of days, 15, and most number of hours, 70.45 in passage of Sindh Government budget during the first year. It is followed by Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, which met for 12 sittings and 27.47 hours, for passage of provincial budget. Balochistan Assembly ranks third for allocating 6 working days and 26.56 working hours spent in scrutiny and passage of provincial budget.

The KP Assembly ranks last in terms of hours spent in passage of provincial budget with having spent 22.58 hours in this crucial exercise, though it ranks third with having spent 8 days in discussion and passage of provincial budget during the first year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019


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