The Parliament is a place of debate, where public representatives engage in the most iconic democratic procedure; legislation. Yet, from the looks of it, in the past few parliamentary sessions the members have forgotten their own hallowed status; substituting constructive debate for political jostling. With the last session resembling an emptying auditorium of a mildly interesting play, one has to question how our representatives are utilising this precious time.

For the most part, the sessions were characterised by quite blatant opportunism. With the PTI Dharna taken to its conclusion, parties are throwing their weight around to see what they can extract from the government in the new political situation. The two chief mischief makers, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), are bent on taking a few parting shots at Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) – despite the fact that every other party clearly wants to put the matter behind them, even the PML-N.

It is understandable, since the MQM and the JUI-F were eclipsed by the Dharna, while the former was also freely abused by the raging captain. Now, both parties have submitted resolutions demanding that the PTI lawmakers be removed because they had absented themselves from the house for more than 40 days. Had the parties been motivated by a genuine desire to uphold the law and letter of the constitution, there stances might have been acceptable – yet both parties are using the motion as a bargaining chip to get more power. Altaf Hussain wants to have oversight on the Karachi Operation, Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman wants another Cabinet seat for his party- if both are given the respective motions will be withdrawn. MQM and JUI-F were never known for their principled stances and exemplary statesmanship, yet, wasting the nation’s time to serve personal interests is still a shameful activity.

The majority of the time was thus spent bickering, with the PML-N desperately trying to while the time away until the sessions were adjourned. A futile debate on the I-11 evictions was held too – seemingly to eat up time. Lawmakers arbitrarily declared for the poor or the CDA, without trying to formulate any real law, and real policy. You know the day is wasted when the most interesting thing to happen is the Speaker of the National Assembly loudly reminding Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman not to laugh so heartily during the Azan.

The Dharna is over – relatively peacefully too – now is the time for the Parliament to discharge their real duty; lawmaking. The PTI need to play the role of a constructive opposition, and prove its mantle in the Parliament now that it knows it can take the streets. The MQM and JUI-F distraction needs to end.