Since taking over in August 2018, the Imran Government has persistently been showing to the world that it hardly has a well-thought-out agenda to pursue. Its decisions rather reflect a whimsical approach, often producing embarrassing backlash compelling U-Turns.

Almost each reporter in Islamabad, regularly covering parliamentary business, was surely expecting a National Assembly session to begin somewhere during the first ten days of this month. The Opposition had also moved to enforce a Senate session by posting the requisition for it.

But the government shocked all of us Tuesday by suddenly summoning fresh sessions of both the houses of parliament. In our parliamentary history, never a parliamentary session had been summoned in such haste. Don’t blame the journalists, therefore, if most of them desperately attempted to find out “the real reasons,” forcing the government to summon parliamentary sessions in SOS-looking manner.

After combing “well-placed sources”, hyperactive reporters had been claiming with absolute confidence that the government had finally decided to set the terms for the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff, no doubt a formidable office, through an act of parliament.

As if to prove the same reporters right, the government also summoned an “urgent and special” meeting of the Federal cabinet, hardly a few hours before the National Assembly sitting and the Senate session Wednesday.

While the said meeting was still on, almost all 24/7 channels began claiming through the flood of tickers that the federal cabinet had “approved” some amendments to the Army Act. Without furnishing details, we were made to believe as if the presumed amendments would “empower” the Prime Minister to fix or extend the tenure of an Army Chief, as per his or her discretion.

The speculations did not stop there. We were also told that the Imran Government had decided to get the proposed law passed from the National Assembly in one-day sitting of Wednesday. Doing so, it would surely appear as if “bulldozing” the new law, while suspending rules that put the legislative business on a relatively slow and tedious track.

Being a semi-retired reporter, I relish no active access to decision-making process of the Imran Government. My guts, however, refused to swallow stories that the SOS-looking summoning of parliamentary session had triggered.

Too close to his retirement late last year, the former Chief Justice headed a 3-member bench of the Supreme Court to hear a petition, mysteriously filed by a dubious character. The petition questioned the 3-year extension that the Prime Minister had announced for the incumbent COAS, way back in August 2019.

The legal eagles of the Imran Government miserably failed to justify and defend the extension on firm grounds. They rather sounded, as if “admitting” that no comprehensive law was present in our law books that clearly defined the terms and procedure for the appointment of a COAS. Successive governments had mostly been relying on “traditions” in this context.

Their arguments facilitated the apex court to ask our parliament to prepare and approve a comprehensively written law to address ambiguities, surfacing during a lengthy hearing of the said petition, “within the next six months,” i.e., by the end of May 2002.

The government surely had ample time to prepare the law that the Supreme Court had asked for. After finalizing the draft of the proposed law, it could then approach the opposition for meaningful consultations on an arguably very important issue.

Prime Minister Imran Khan hates to approach the opposition for delivering on legislative matters, however. He strongly believes that his political opponents mostly comprise “looters and plunderers.” They deserve no mercy; forget respect.

He and his loyalists also felt that if the government approached the opposition to seek cooperation for legislation on a very important issue, its leading lights would resort to “blackmail” for extracting “relief” for leaders facing serious charges of corruption. It rather preferred to wait for the retirement of Justice Asif Saeed Khosa.

After his retirement, the government had quickly filed a “review petition”. Essentially, the said petition anticipates the Supreme Court to almost undo the decision announced by its 3-member bench regarding the appointment and tenure of the Chief of Army Staff.

The apex court has yet to start hearing the review petition. Unless it moved and eventually announced the final verdict, the government did not need to prepare a new law in haste and get it passed from both the houses of parliament with an indecent-looking haste.

None of my hyperactive colleagues were willing to consider questions that I kept putting for suspecting the credibility of stories, which kept preparing us for the hasty passage of a “new law,” to solidify the decision of 3-year extension. They trusted their “sources,” almost blindly.

The floor of the National Assembly looked deserted at the outset of its sitting. Even on the treasury benches one noticed hugely empty spaces. After a lifeless question hour, the deputy speaker rushed through the trivial business and the house was adjourned to meet again on Thursday morning without much ado.

The opposition senators were far more aggressive while participating in the Senate session. For very solid and definitely valid reasons, they took the government on for not calling the Senate session even after completion of 120 days since previous session.

Our Constitution clearly states that the gap between two sessions of the Senate must not extend to more than 120 days. The ministers were yet not blushing. They rather took the floor to drum feelgood stories regarding the Imran Government. They never cared to answer questions that Raza Rabbani, Maulana Ghafoor Haidri and Sirajul Haq had put through lengthy and hard-hittingspeeches.

The arrogant conduct of the self-praising ministers forced Ms Sherry Rehman to deliver a lethal speech. Almost explicit, she sounded while recalling and affirming the widely spread story, which made many in Islamabad to assume that the Imran Government was “forced” to summon parliamentary sessions in haste “to deliver” on an ominously sensitive matter.

She kept referring to “selectors” and the “selected” as well and passed many critical remarks in taunting tone and tenure. Her speech clearly indicated that by summoning the Senate and the National Assembly sessions, the government had pushed itself to an embarrassment-laden corner.

To meet the deadline for this column, I could not double check. But a ministerial source, I normally trust, did try to suggest through dropping heavy hints that some cabinet members expressed serious reservations over the language used for drafting the much-anticipated law. Perhaps the law ministry needs more time to deal with lacunas, pointed out during the “urgent and specially summoned” cabinet meeting of Wednesday.