The PTI government certainly set a historic record Thursday evening by passing not one but 15-plus laws in less than two working hours of a National Assembly sitting.

In the haste of proving its capacity for fast-track legislation, it also demolished the utility of standing committeesof the National Assembly for good. Around eight ordinances, the President had signed hardly a week ago, were “taken into consideration at once,” and the crowd sitting on the treasury benches quickly converted them into laws by constantly chanting “Ayes,” like the caged parrots.

If you managed to reach any MNA of the ruling party, randomly, he or she would just not be able to explain salient features of any of the laws, passed on Thursday.

This correspondent is considered an “expert,” when it comes to explain the legislative business for a newspaper reader or to a regular TV viewer, due to reporting the National Assembly proceedings since 1985. To be honest, even I remain clueless until writing this column.

Quick glancing of the plethora of documents that I had brought to home from the National Assembly could, so far, tell me that the PTI had also made it “legal” to keep everyone, arrested by NAB, in C-class of the jails like ordinary criminals.

Section 10 of the National Accountability Ordinance of 1999 had been amended to clearly declare: “Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law or any instructions etc. for the time being in force, any person arrested under the provisions of this (NAB) Ordinance for any offence involving any amount above fifty million rupees shall be entitled to ‘C’ class or equivalent only in the prison irrespective of the stage of inquiry, investigation or trial.”

The enforced amendment is indeed “draconian,” even if you don’t feel too motivated about the human rights. Our Accountability outfit relishes the absolute power of nabbing any citizen of Pakistan for suspecting him or her as “corrupt”. It does not need to prove its case through diligent prosecution. The accused has to prove his or her innocence. Even to get the bail from High Courts, if arrested by NAB, the accused has to wait not less than two years on average. He or she would continue rotting in “C” class of our jails, even if proven not guilty at the end of a tedious and rigorous legal battle.

But the same amendment would certainly please the corruption-hating base of the PTI. By enforcing it, Prime Minister Imran Khan appeared fully committed to his resolve of not showing any mercy to the corrupt of our country. Perhaps he needed to reiterate the said resolve to assuage the hurt hearts of his loyalists. Most of them were feeling extremely disappointed of late due to the “relief” that Nawaz Sharif managed through the courts because of his health and the subsequent release of his daughter and apparent political heir on bail, granted by the Lahore High Court, “on merit.”

The hasty law making Thursday would also empower the PTI government to reconstitute the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) and flood it with its favourites and cronies.

Another law, passed on Thursday, would help to put a pet project of the prime minister on a fast track. It relates to acquisition of land by the government with the intent of building houses and flats for the “poor and needy” of “Naya Pakistan.”

I seriously suspect that the said law would unleash a flood of petitions in superior courts. After all it relates to acquiring land and fixing the price of it and all across South Asia, people feel too possessive and emotional about these matters.

The opposition looked pathetic while half-heartedly trying to block the speedy legislation. Many of its MNAs stayed huddled before the chair. They did chant slogans, but visibly lacked the will and the energy to mount a tough resistance.Qasim Suri, the Deputy Speaker, presided the sitting. He acted contemptuously deaf to their chants and eventually tired them out with arrogant-looking perseverance.

The Opposition was perhaps reluctant to seriously resist the fast track bulldozing of “laws” by feeling comfortable with the numerical edge it savors in the upper house of parliament.

They are certain that the laws passed on Thursday would eventually be “rejected” by the Senate, where the government does not have the required majority. To my cynical mind, though, their confidence clearly smacks of a lazy and defeatist mindset.

Both the PML-N and the PPP seem to have clearly “lost the script.” They failed to show, even the amount of resistance that a handful of members, sitting in General Zia’s nominated Majlis-e-Shura, would mount to oppose the passing of certain law in the early 1980s.

General Zia would pretend absolute commitment to the idea of “Islamizing” every law in Pakistan. But even his might failed to get a law enforced that appeared diminishing the status of women in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

If you go by the numbers only, both the PML-N and the PPP have a sizeable crowd sitting on their benches in the current National Assembly. They also have many “seasoned parliamentarians,” some of them returning to the National Assembly through each election held in this country since 1988. Yet, the same crowd of “seasoned parliamentarians” could never match the energy that a tiny opposition used to generate in a National Assembly that worked under the watchful eyes of General Zia from 1985 to 1988.

Thanks our rudderless opposition, the current assembly has begun to look like a crowd of “our representatives,” blindly rubber stamping “laws,” conceived and drafted by a group of clerks sitting in the Ministry of Law.

As the citizens of a “parliamentary republic,” we have the right to know as to why a particular law is being introduced. What are the end-objectives of it and how the enforced law meets some of our demands and desires?

You get this knowledge, only if during the passage of laws comprehensive discussions were held about them. The opposition has to play the lead role to ensure such discussions. Our opposition had miserably failed on this count Thursday. Yet, its lead stars will feel no shame to pretend as if “protecting democracy and the parliamentary system” like a mother hen while sitting in the current assembly.

I am not suggesting them to resign from the current assembly. What about quitting the Standing Committees, though? They are established, only to vet laws proposed by the sitting government by intense scrutiny of them.

By forcing “immediate consideration” of a huge package of Ordinances that the President had approved hardly a week ago, the PTI government had made the Standing Committees of the National Assembly to look redundant. By sitting in the same committees from now on, the opposition would clearly convey to mortals like you and I that its MNAs were only concerned about their status, privileges, allowances and the huge package of perks “honourable members of an elected house” savor like the usual elite of a luckless country.