After a dismal showing in the National Assembly immediately following the Quetta hospital attack, the representatives of the people returned in full force – led by the Prime Minister in his first visit to the parliament floor since his return to Pakistan. Together, they crafted a message composed of sorrow, deterrence and resolve, crouched in strong phrases and staunch words.

Strangely enough, the words rang hollow, the phrases felt forced – these speeches have been heard before, these solemn commitments made countless times. In the midst of this repetitive cycle, the only thing that stood out was the words of the detractors, those who have had enough – the rest was an act of going through the motions.

The Prime Minister stuttered and stumbled his way through the short speech that was meant to instill confidence in the public, but ended up undermining it further. His other “historic” act was to personally convince an opposition that had walked out in protest to return to the floor – ostensibly sacrificing his ego for the benefit of the public. We can only sing praises of the Prime Minister’s bravery.

On the subject of grand gestures, the opposition’s walkout deserves special mention. It is perhaps understandable that the opposition was outraged at the massacre in Quetta, but what does a walkout ever achieve? For a relative of someone slain at the National Hospital or the lawyer who still mans the fort at a deserted courthouse, these actions are meaningless. What was required from the opposition was hard hitting introspection and demands for a change in policy, yet they only succeeded in wasting everyone’s time with their theatrics.

On the subject of wasting time, Imran Khan, whose parliament attendance record is worse than the Prime Minister – and that’s saying something – magnanimously decided to “uphold democracy” a day after announcing his intention to topple it. Yet even in the throes of this tragedy Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) tone-deaf ministers found a way to take conspiratorial pot shots at the government, implying that attacks such as the APS massacre always happen when the PTI decides to start its march against the capital.

You know you have lost touch with reality when the only reasonable voices in the whole house belonged to JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai. Both insisted that such security lapses are the fault of the security agencies, and too many such lapses have happened for us to give them the benefit of the doubt. Their claims were logical – had any other government department failed at their job with such regularity and with such devastating consequences heads would have rolled long ago. It is time for our intelligence agencies to also be held accountable for lapses in security.