CHAPTER VII - QUESTIONS
38. TIME OF QUESTIONS:–
(1) Except as otherwise provided in these rules, the first hour of every sitting, after the recitation from the Holy Quran and Naat Shareef and the swearing in, of members, if any, shall be available for asking and answering of questions.
(2) There shall be no question hour on –
(a) Saturday, Sunday or a holiday if a sitting of the Assembly is held on such a day;
(b) a day fixed after a general election for making of an oath by members;
(c) a day fixed for –
(i) the election of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker;
(ii) the election of the Chief Minister;
(iii) moving, consideration and voting of a resolution for vote of confidence in the Chief Minister;
(iv) moving, consideration and voting of a resolution of no confidence in the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker or the Chief Minister;
(v) address by the Governor;
(vi) discussion on the Budget or the Supplementary Budget or for voting on demands for grants relating to the Budget or the Supplementary Budget; and
(vii) consideration and passage of the Finance Bill.
39. NOTICE OF QUESTIONS:–
Not less than fifteen clear days notice of a question shall be given unless the Speaker, with the consent of the Minister concerned, allows a question to be asked at shorter notice:
Provided that if the consent of the Minister is not received within seven days from the receipt of the communication, the Speaker may admit a short notice question if he is satisfied that it is a matter of urgent public importance.
40. SHORT NOTICE QUESTIONS:–
Questions at a short notice, shall ordinarily be answered at the commencement of the question hour:
Provided that –
(i) a member shall not ask more than one short notice question in a sitting; and
(ii) a short notice question shall not be asked to anticipate a question of which notice has already been given.
41. FORM OF NOTICE OF QUESTION:–
(1) A separate notice of every question shall be given in writing to the Secretary and shall specify the official designation of the Minister to whom it is addressed.
(2) A member, who desires to ask a starred question, shall distinguish it with an asterisk.
(3) If, in the opinion of the Speaker, any starred question is of such a nature that a written reply would be more appropriate, he may direct that such question be placed on the List of Unstarred Questions.
42. SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS:–
(1) Subject to the provisions of these rules, a question may be asked for the purpose of obtaining information on a matter of public concern within the special cognizance of the Minister to whom it is addressed.
(2) A question addressed to a Minister shall relate to the public affairs with which he is officially connected, or to a matter of administration for which he is responsible.
(3) The questions relating to a Department for which there is no Minister shall be addressed to the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs.
43. ADMISSIBILITY OF QUESTIONS:–
In order that a question may be admissible, it must satisfy the following conditions, namely:-
(a) it shall not contain any name or statement unless it is necessary to make it intelligible;
(b) if it contains a statement, the member shall make himself responsible for the accuracy of the statement;
(c) it shall not contain arguments, inferences, ironical expressions, imputations, epithets or defamatory statements;
(d) it shall not seek an expression of opinion or any matter or solution of an abstract legal question or a hypothetical proposition;
(e) it shall neither refer to the character or conduct of any person except in his official or public capacity nor to the character or conduct which can be challenged only on a substantive motion;
(f) it shall not be of excessive length;
(g) it shall not relate to a matter which is not primarily the concern of the Government;
(h) it shall not ask for information on any matter under the control of bodies or persons not primarily responsible to the Government, except where the Government has financial interests in such bodies or persons;
(i) it shall not ask for information on matters under the consideration of a Committee, nor shall it ask about the proceedings of the Committee, unless such proceedings have been placed before the Assembly by a report of the Committee;
(j) it shall not make or imply a charge of a personal character;
(k) it shall not raise questions of policy too large to be dealt within the limits of an answer to a question;
(l) it shall not repeat in substance questions admitted for the same session or already answered or disallowed by the Speaker or to which an answer was refused in the Assembly during the last two sessions;
(m) it shall not be trivial, vexatious, vague or meaningless;
(n) it shall not ask for information contained in documents easily accessible to the public or in ordinary works of reference;
(o) it shall not contain references to newspapers by name and shall not ask whether statements in the Press or by private individuals or by non-official bodies are accurate;
(p) it shall not ask for information regarding Cabinet discussions or any advice given to the Governor, or in relation to any matter in respect of which there is constitutional or statutory obligation not to disclose information;
(q) it shall not –
(i) contain any reflection on the conduct of the Governor or a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court;
(ii) contain any criticism of the decisions of the Assembly;
(iii) ordinarily ask for information or matter of past history;
(iv) seek information about matters which are in their nature secret or sensitive;
(v) contain any reflection on a decision of a court of law or statutory tribunal established in Pakistan or such remarks as are likely to prejudice a matter which is sub-judice;
(vi) relate to a matter which is sub-judice; and
(vii) refer discourteously to a foreign country.
44. SPEAKER TO DECIDE ADMISSIBILITY OF QUESTIONS:–
The Speaker shall decide the admissibility of a question and shall disallow any question or a part thereof which, in his opinion, is in contravention of these rules, or he may, in his discretion, amend it in form.
45. NOTICE OF ADMISSION OF QUESTIONS:–
A question shall not be included in the List of Questions for answer before expiry of ten days from the day when, after its admission by the Speaker, it was brought to the notice of the Minister.
46. ALLOTMENT OF DAYS FOR QUESTIONS:–
The time for answering questions shall be allotted in rotation on different days for the answering of questions relating to such Department or Departments of the Government as the Speaker may, from time to time, specify and on such day only questions relating to the Department or Departments for which time on that day has been allotted, shall be placed on the List of Questions for answers.
47. NUMBER OF QUESTIONS FOR A SITTING:–
(1) Not more than three starred questions including short notice questions and three unstarred questions from the same member shall be placed on the List of Questions for a sitting:
Provided that nothing in this rule shall apply to a question postponed or transferred from an earlier date or to another department.
(2) Not more than thirty-five starred questions shall be placed on the List of Questions for a sitting and the remaining questions mature for answers, if any, shall be taken over to the next day allotted for the Department concerned.
(3) The questions shall be placed on the List of Questions in the order in which their notices are received, but a member may, by notice in writing given at any time before the sitting for which his question has been placed on the said List, withdraw his question.
48. LIST OF QUESTIONS:–
Questions which have not been disallowed shall be entered in the List of Questions for the day and the answers, if received from the Minister concerned not later than forty-eight hours before the commencement of the question hour on the day on which the questions are set down in the List, shall be entered along with it, and shall be called in order in which they stand in the List unless the Speaker changes that order with the leave of the Assembly.
49. DELAY AS TO ANSWERS:–
(1) If the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary concerned is not ready with the answer to a question or if the answer to a question has not been received within the time prescribed in sub-rule (1), the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary concerned shall state, in the House, the reasons therefor.
(2) If the Speaker is satisfied that it was beyond the control of the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary concerned to have been ready with the answer, the question shall be put for answer on the next day allotted for that Department.
(3) The Speaker may direct that the Minister concerned shall enquire into the matter and report the result of the inquiry, including the action taken, if any, to the House on the next day allotted for that Department.
50. MODE OF ASKING QUESTIONS AND ANSWERING:–
(1) At the time of asking questions, the Speaker shall call successively each member in whose name a starred question appears in the List of Questions.
(2) The member so called shall rise in his place and, unless he states that it is not his intention to ask the question standing in his name, he shall ask the question by reference to its number on the List of Questions.
(3) If, on a question being called, it is not put or the member in whose name it stands is absent, the Speaker may, at the request of any other member, direct that the answer to it be given.
(4) The questions shall be answered by the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary concerned.
51. SUPPLEMENTARY QUESTIONS:–
When a starred question has been answered, any member may ask such supplementary questions as may be necessary for the elucidation of the answer, but the Speaker shall disallow a supplementary question which, in his opinion, either infringes any provision of these rules relating to the subject matter and admissibility of questions or is otherwise an abuse of the right of asking questions.
Provided that a Member who has given the notice of a question may ask three supplementary questions and not more than five supplementary questions, in respect of that question be asked by rest of the Members
52. WRITTEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS NOT REPLIED ORALLY:–
If any starred question placed on the List of Questions for answer on any day is not called for answer within the time available for answering questions on that day, the answer already supplied by the Minister concerned shall be laid on the Table by the Minister or the Parliamentary Secretary concerned or the member to whom the question is addressed and no oral answer shall be required for such a question nor shall any supplementary question be asked in respect thereof.
53. PROHIBITION OF DISCUSSION ON QUESTIONS OR ANSWERS:–
There shall be no discussion on any question or answer except as provided by rule 56.
54. QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE SECRETARIAT OF THE ASSEMBLY:–
Questions relating to the Secretariat of the Assembly may be asked by addressing a communication to the Speaker and not otherwise.
55. NO PUBLICITY OF ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS IN ADVANCE:–
Answers to questions which Ministers propose to give in the Assembly shall not be released for publication until the answers have actually been given on the floor of the Assembly or laid on the Table.
56. DISCUSSION ON A MATTER OF PUBLIC IMPORTANCE ARISING OUT OF ANSWER TO A QUESTION.–
(1) On every Wednesday, the Speaker may, on two clear days notice being given by a member, allot one hour for discussion on a matter of sufficient public importance which has been the subject of a question during the last week, starred or unstarred:
Provided that the Speaker may extend the time of sitting for that day by an hour.
(2) Such notices shall be considered by the Speaker in the order in which they have been received, and when one such notice is admitted all other notices shall lapse.
(3) The Speaker shall decide whether the matter is of sufficient public importance to be put down for discussion, but he may not admit a notice which, in his opinion, seeks to revise the policy of the Government.
(4) There shall be neither voting nor any formal motion in the course of or at the conclusion of such discussion.