Like the national assembly, the Senate also took precisely 12 minutes to pass a highly important law, regulating the appointments of Services’ Chiefs and setting the procedure for extending their tenure, if the need be, when the same was presented before it Wednesday afternoon.

The unanimous-looking passage of the said law would certainly be considered a record-setting event, if you care to recall that the opposition parties savour almost a brute majority in our Upper House of Parliament. The PML-N leads in numbers. Next comes the PPP. Both these parties were too willing to facilitate a speedy approval of the law, however, that the Lower House of Parliament had already approved Tuesday.

Pakistan National Party and Pushtunkhawa Millii Awami Party (PKMAP) did attempt to block the smooth passage. Siraj-ul-Haq, the Jamaat-e-Islami leader, was not present in the House. But a senator from his party, Mushtaq Ahmad, joined a rowdy crowd comprising nine senators that continued yelling and shouting while huddled before the Chairman’s dais.

Maulana Ghafoor Haidri, the JUI (F) leader in the Senate, was not present in the house. One of his colleagues, Maulvi Faiz Mohammad, wanted to join the unruly crowd. Another JUI (F) senator, Talha Mehmud, however, took him, out. Technically speaking, the party associated with Maulana Fazlur Rehman had “abstained” from the law-passing process of Wednesday.

If you strictly go by the book, regulating the parliamentary business, even the rowdy senators had not voted AGAINST the proposed law. To do this, they needed to enforce a headcount. They were not sitting on benches allotted to them. Even if they were there, the Senate Chairman seemed determined to deny them the floor. He even acted firmly deaf and blind when Ms. Sherry Rehman anxiously kept trying to seek permission to speak for a while.

She perhaps wanted the chair to ask the shouting senators to return to their seats and permit them to briefly express their opposition to the bill. She also wanted that the Senate should spare some time to consider a PPP proposal, which simply desired that while extending the tenure of any Service Chief, the Prime Minister should certainly employ his or her discretion. But he or she should at least “explain” to a specially constituted Parliamentary Committee on National Security about what motivated the grant of extension.

Most parliamentary reporters were eagerly trying to find out the names and numbers of senators, missing from the PML-N and the PPP benches during the law passing moments. Instead of relying on my eyes, I preferred to check the chart that formally records the presence and absence of senators during a specific sitting. Five prominent senators were missing from the PML-N benches. They were: Sardar Yaqub Khan Nasir, Hafiz Abdul Karim, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Abdul Qayum, Mussadaq Masood Malik and Pervez Rashid. Chaudhry Tanvir is staying put in London for many months. His absence was thus not significant.

Only two senators were missing from the PPP benches: Salim Mandwiwallah and Raza Rabbani. The absence of Mandwiwallah, who also is the Deputy Chairman of Senate, was understandable. He indeed was missing to cope with the tragic death of his first-born son.

The missing of Mian Raza Rabbani, the former Chairman Senate, surly looked deliberate. He often behaves like a lone ranger to express distance from some decisions by his party that he does not approve from his heart. He seemingly lived up to his reputation of a “rebel” Wednesday.

The same appears to be the case with Pervez Rashid and Mussadaq Masood Malik. One can’t imagine a plausible explanation for the missing of the rest of PML-N senators from Wednesday proceedings.

I simply fail to fathom as to why Prime Minister Imran Khan preferred to stay away from the Senate, on a day when it was rushing through the passage of a consequential law. He is not a member of the Upper House of Parliament, for sure. But the parliamentary traditions and etiquette certainly required his presence in the Senate Wednesday.

After all, a significant bill was being passed there, which clearly affirmed and augmented Prime Minister’s “discretionary powers,” when it comes to the appointments of Services’ Chief and extending their tenure.

His party, the PTI, does not command even the simple majority in the Senate. Yet, the number-strong opposition, especially the PML-N and the PPP, had shown a very large heart to approve a law presented by his government. Doing this, they disregarded the either/or polarization and simply forgot grievances accumulated against the punitive-looking behavior of his government with its opponents. Prime Minister Imran Khan surely owed a huge thank-you to them.

Fairly a large number of the PML-N and the PPP legislators are not feeling too good for quickly “rubber-stamping” a law that the government had prepared to deal with a hugely complex and important matter. Many hearts are unbearably burning among them. Instead of focusing their ire on the Senate Chairman, Hasil Bizenjo, a high profile leader from Baluchistan and Usman Kakar of the PKMAP kept facing the PML-N and the PPP senators during the Wednesday sitting to rudely blame them for “betraying the cause of civil supremacy.”

Prime Minister’s presence in the Senate Wednesday would certainly have helped some assuaging. By staying away, he had rather provoked many among the opposition legislators to feel doubly bitter about their leaders, who seemingly rushed to help and facilitate the PTI government to deal with a deeply complicated matter, laden with explosive potential.

Some deeply “political” and influential ministers of this government do want to continue with appeasing and assuaging the opposition, however. In the Speaker’s Chambers, they held lengthy consultations with high profile opposition legislators Wednesday evening. They reportedly attempted to pave way for the passage of another law, by “sustaining the current momentum of consensus.”

Through the desired law, some visibly “draconian powers” of the National Accountability Act could be diluted. Through a presidential ordinance, the PTI government had already clipped many powers of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The attempted clipping primarily aimed at pleasing the big business and the bureaucracy. Politicians continue to stay as if the sole and favorite target of the NAB’s powers.

The PTI ministers are now showing some willingness to address the politicians’ grievances against the apparently vicious, visibly vindictive and often selective-looking conduct of the NAB. There is a catch, though.

The corruption-hating hawks, crowding the PTI, can easily subvert the appeasing attempts made by some of their colleagues, by loudly recalling and drumming Imran Khan’s “consistent” message of not “forgetting and forgiving” the “looters and plunderers.”