I seriously wonder if even the astonishingly fertile minds of Ionesco or Beckett could imagine the kind of absurd situations that one keeps watching, real time, on floor of the National Assembly of Pakistan these days.

Tuesday is reserved for private initiatives in legislation. Member after member thus kept taking turns to introduce laws or suggest amendments to some already existing.

All their suggestions sounded frighteningly irrelevant to issues agitating the hearts and minds of people like you and I these days. One honorable member even displayed the audacity of proposing amendments in an article of the Constitution of Pakistan that requires passage with a 2/3 majority.

Yet, in all seriousness these proposals were put for voting and without any opposition from any quarter were conveniently passed on to the Standing Committee on Law & Justice. Doing so, not one member cared to seriously put the question, i.e., where is the said committee? Who chairs it and how many members of this august house comprise it?

The sad joke is that even after completing almost five months of its existence, this National Assembly could yet not form parliamentary committees, considered essential for a functional and dynamic house of elected representatives.

Differences related to the appointment of Chairman Public Accounts Committee had triggered and perpetuated the stalemate.

The opposition insists that as per the established traditions, Mian Shehbaz Sharif, the opposition leader, should head the said Committee. None other than Prime Minister himself keeps wondering, however, as to how the younger brother of the former prime minister could honestly spot out and pursue financial irregularities committed during the previous five years of the PML-N government.

It is true that the Constitution or the Assembly Rules do not bind a sitting government to accept the Opposition Leader as Chairman Public Accounts Committee. The PPP and the PML-N agreed to it via an “Accord for Democracy” that they had signed while struggling against the Musharraf regime around ten years ago.

The PTI leader and his core group of supporters and admirers seriously believe that the said tradition was set to weaken the process of vetting the financial doings of a government. In the name of strengthening parliamentary democracy, “the plunder-addicted PPP and the PML-N” had been employing every trick to protect corrupt practices of each other. “It was kind of an agreement among the thieves,” they insist.

During informal contacts, though, some PTI ministers keep suggesting to opposition members that the government might not resist appointment of an Opposition Representative as the head of Public Accounts Committee in the end. But not Shehbaz Sharif, come what may.

Without getting the said office for its leader, the PML-N is just not willing to nominate people for the rest of parliamentary committees. Initially, the PTI thought that to project the image of being a “responsible opposition” about itself the PPP would not support the PML-N stand.

NAB and other law enforcing agencies have begun breathing down heavily to grab Asif Ali Zardari, perhaps Bilawal Bhutto Zardari as well, under multiple charges of corruption and money laundering. The PPP is thus left with no choice but to act hard to get.

The government is not pushed. It rather feels, strongly, that by making the National Assembly look dysfunctional for not having parliamentary committees, both the PML-N and the PPP are “exposing their real priorities.” They have come to this house, not to strengthen the parliamentary system but to protect the “loot and plunder” they compulsively committed during their turns in federal and provincial governments.

The opposition is yet not able to furnish a convincing counter spin. And we continue to suffer a dysfunctional parliament, which in the end helps the government to feel safe, secure and comfortable during its formative months.

Thanks to the paralysis enforced on this assembly due to the absence of parliamentary committee, we don’t see vigorous debates on so many issues of immediate public concern.

This assembly, for example, failed to find it for you and I as to what kind of financial package was being discussed with the IMF. What is the actual worth of the financial cushion brotherly and friendly countries like Saudi Arabia and China had agreed to provide us? And if the government did succeed to avert a ‘financial crisis,’ why constant tossing of funny ideas like imposing the ‘sin tax’ on smokers to overcome the ever widening gap between revenues and the money required by the government to manage its fiscal house, somewhat smoothly.