The National Assembly of Pakistan, nowadays, seems to be a college canteen, with honourable members acting like college pranksters. Murad Saeed, the communication minister, remains the target.

The moment he took the floor to answer a few questions, raised through a calling-attention notice, someone from the opposition benches pointed out the lack of quorum. The obligatory count confirmed its absence and the house had to be adjourned until Monday evening.

The same had happened Thursday, when the same minister stood up with the clear intent of delivering a bombastic speech to bluntly tell the opposition that their governments from 2008 to 2018 were primarily responsible for the unbearable rate of inflation that Pakistan endured these days. The opposition prevented his speech by pointing out the lack of quorum.

Murad Saeed is a diehard PTI loyalist. Imran Khan seems to be quite proud of his conduct. Often he tells his ministers to emulate Saeed, when it comes to take on the “looters and plunderers,” allegedly crowding the opposition parties.

Besides behaving hyperactive during parliamentary sittings, the youthful minister of communication also dominates the cabinet meetings. The so-called “technocrat” ministers of the Imran government often feel humiliated for questions he habitually puts to blast the utility and validity of certain policies, introduced in the name of “structural reforms.” He even forced the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to radically revamp measures adopted to fix the rate of inflation.

During the assembly proceedings, Saeed turns doubly agitated. Assuming the role of an over-protective mother hen, he is ever willing to speak on all possible subjects under the sun, even if they are not directly related to his Ministry. Doing this, he selfishly forgets the reality that while behaving like the ultimate defender of the Imran government, he mostly exposes the limits of his own colleagues.

The erstwhile tribal areas, collectively called FATA, had formally been merged in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Province through a constitutional amendment, way back in the spring of 2018. Issues related to funds, allocated for development work in these areas, now fall in “provincial domain.” The national assembly has no mandate for dealing with them.

Presiding the Friday sitting, Qasim Suri, the deputy speaker, repeatedly acknowledged this reality. Still, he decided to continue with a calling attention notice, essentially related to funding for the erstwhile tribal areas.

An IMF-favourite technocrat, Dr. Hafiz Sheikh, exclusively deals with issues related to economic and fiscal management by Imran government. He is not elected to any house of our parliament. In his absence, Zain Qureshi, the parliamentary secretary, is assigned to speak for the ministry of finance, when questions are put to it in the national assembly.

No doubt, Zain Qureshi is a first timer to the national assembly. But he is the son of Makhdoom Shah Mehmud Qureshi, the foreign minister. This third-generation representative of the elitist Qureshis of Multan has graduated from an Ivy League school of the USA. Before joining full-time politics in Pakistan, he had also worked as an active intern at the office of US Senator John Kerry. Dealing with a calling attention during the Friday sitting of the national assembly, he did not appear living up to the expectations of Murad Saeed, however.

The communication minister perhaps wanted to show him the “correct path” of dealing with delicate subjects through his speech. But the prankish opposition prevented him by pointing out the lack of quorum. It was too obvious that some jealous types, from within the PTI, deliberately helped the opposition in forestalling the flight of Murad Saeed by sneaking out of the house to ensure a lack of quorum.

Before asking for the floor next time, Murad Saeed should firmly activate his clout to ensure that sufficient number of PTI MNAs is present in the house. That can perhaps then allow him to get an open field to ruthlessly lynch the Sharifs and Zardaris of this world with usual rants against “looters and plunderers.”

The PTI has fast begun to look like a house embarrassingly divided, though. Its ministers mostly act like “all chiefs; no Indian” these days. During the Friday sitting, Ali Mohammad Khan, the state minister of parliamentary affairs, was too cooperative and willing to let a resolution passed, while suspending the question hour for a while.

The unusual cooperation was extended to recommend public execution of heartless persons found guilty for brutally molesting a child. The minister of parliamentary affairs felt proudly pleased over the passage of this resolution, which remains non-obligatory. The national assembly needs to legislate, formally, if the state is serious in approving public executions, especially for such violent and inhuman crimes like child abuse. The passage of a resolution in the given context was nothing but a symbolic point, scored to please and befool the public.

Yet, the passage of a toothless recommendation from a house, where the PTI commands majority, helped another minister of the Imran government to grab media attention by issuing statements against the passage of public-execution-demanding resolution.

Fawad Chaudhry is essentially a spin master. Habitually, he goes OTT to flaunt his “modern and progressive” sides. And he seriously believes that the resolution, passed by the national assembly Friday, smacks of “primitive thinking.” We have to wait how Ali Mohammad Khan reacts to his cabinet colleague.

Perhaps at some point in time, Prime Minister Imran Khan may also need to pick a side, if two of his ministers – Ali Mohammad Khan and Fawad Chaudhry - get too serious on the issue of resolution passed by the national assembly Friday.

Already, a huge crowd of parliamentary reporters has been found eagerly combing sources to find out the latest on relationship-status of Jehangir Khan Tareen, aka JKT, vis-à-vis the court of Imran Khan. Rumors are rife that JKT, once considered the main deliverer for the PTI, when it came to power games and the politicking needed for managing them, has become the target of certain influential persons, monopolizing access to the prime minister. They had allegedly been feeding Imran Khan with negative stories about him with insidious whispers. Running and controlling Punjab, the most populous province of Pakistan, is presumed to be the sore point.

JKT had remained the ultimate backstage manager for keeping things cool and smooth in Punjab. Imran Khan did not feel good and comfortable about his management in the end. Eventually, he opted for a top-down model; appointed a powerful Chief Secretary for the province and started micro-managing the administrative affairs there from the Prime Minister’s Office.

This model is also not delivering; the usual politicians have rather begun to gang up against the “bureaucratic control.” Chaudhrys of Gujarat, in effect, are taking advantage of their accumulated frustrations. And Punjab has fast begun to appear as if slipping from the control of Imran Khan. Playing footsie with Chaudhrys, the loyalists of Shahbaz Sharif are also fuelling the feel of instability in Punjab. I seriously suspect that mere ditching of JKT can’t help in the given context.