KARACHI - A report to gauge performance of the Sindh Assembly launched here on Saturday unveiled that the women parliamentarians participated more actively in assembly proceedings than their male counterparts.
The launching ceremony of the report attended by Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, provincial ministers, lawmakers, civil society activists and media persons attended in large numbers, who appreciated the initiation to strengthen the democracy in the country.
Regarding the participation of individuals as well as parliamentary leaders, the report showed that at total of 48 sittings of Sindh Assembly were held during the reporting period and met for 110 hours and 46 minutes; showing average time for each sitting was two hours and 18 minutes.
Praising the role of women lawmakers, the report disclosed that women lawmakers participated actively in discussions, leaving behind their male colleagues.
Comparing the gender-wise performance of lawmakers in asking of questions, the report showed that out of total 536 questions, at least 354 questions were asked by the female lawmakers in Sindh Assembly pertained to the accountability of different departments, while the male members, who posses about 130 seats of the assembly, had asked only 182 questions.
The women lawmakers raised questioned about each ministry from fisheries, irrigation and jails to local government, labour, social welfare and women issues.
Regarding attendance, the report pointed out that the Sindh Assembly does not make public the attendance records of the members, so the observer of report conducts headcount at the start and end of each sitting.
The report stated that some minority members were also active participants in parliamentary discussions, raising issues about minorities’ rights through private motions, adjournment motions and point of order.
At least one fourth of the total 168 members were present during the observation period on average, maintaining quorum, report stated and noted the overall attendance remained low as on average 46 members were present at the beginning and 68 at the end of each sitting.
In the total 48 sittings, the parliamentary leader of the MQM attended 45 sittings (93 per cent) sittings of Sindh Assembly, followed by PPP and ANP 29 (60 per cent), PML-F 48 per cent, NPP 40 per cent and PML-Q 31 per cent.
Report stated that the chief minister, who is also the leader of the House, remained absent in 33 of such sittings, thus attending 15 of them.
Stating the output of the proceedings, the report noted that the Sindh Assembly passed 14 bills out of 24 that appeared on the agenda, achieving a legislation output rate of 58 per cent, however the House did not pass a single private members’ bill.
Speaking as chief guest and Deputy Speaker of Sindh Assembly Shehla Raza said Sindh Assembly was the only legislature of the country that allows live electronic media coverage of the proceedings.
She expressed satisfaction over the performance of the Sindh Assembly in terms of the legislation and taking up of the issues of public importance.
MPA Khwaja Izharul Hassan of MQM said that the SA members had to play more actively their role in resolving of the issues.
MPA Pitamber Sehwani of ruling PPP complained that practices of the kidnappings and forcible conversion of religion of Hindu girls still existed in the province as they were not being treated as equal citizens of the country.
Another PPP MPA Saleem Khursheed Khokhar who is elected on reserve seats for minorities supported the views expressed by his colleague Pitmaber and said they tabled motions and private bill to ensure protection of minorities’ properties, which were still pending.
MPA Zareen Majeed, provincial minister for women development department Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, Secretary General of PPF Owais Aslam Ali and others also shared their views on this occasion.