The Lower House of Parliament is a routine-cum-boring business to cover these days: at least this is the general impression in the otherwise vibrant Media Gallery. Around 50-60 Opposition-Treasury members scattered in the gigantic hall made for 342 plus, with a capacity to accommodate even dozens more for serious legislative business. But Wednesday was relaxed – a day for a change.

Many of them could be seen having chit chat, exchanging 'versatile' jokes; some could be spotted yawning, others trying to employ all their energies to pass two hours, at least, of this unique 12/12/12 day, mentally preparing themselves for the upcoming long break – winter holidays (for New Year and Christmas).

With little or no legislative business on the table, there is a general mood of dullness and dryness in the proceedings. And Deputy Speaker Faisal Kareem Kundi knew this as he announced end of Wednesday's sitting.

What else he could do after repeatedly reminding members to have order in the House for decent parliamentary proceedings. But no one would pay attention. Even the chief whips and parliamentary leaders were not pushed. And to his utter frustration as the proceedings went on so did the mushroom pep-talk and gup-shup corners sprung up, scattered unchecked across the Opposition-Treasury divide.

Wearing a sleepy look, as always, Defence Minister Naveed Qamar could be spotted in the front row. With no work at hand he could only exchange pleasantries with Law Minister Farook H Naek, who is in an upbeat mood these days, following the Swiss letter ceasefire with the apex court.

Public Accounts Committee Chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan could not hold himself from stepping on the bandwagon, and joined in from back-benches through a quick leap. Occasionally intruded by a woman MP holding the usual 'file' work, the trio enjoyed itself and was all smiles till end of the proceedings.

In the rear, Syed Khursheed Shah, the brainy-cum-solution oriented minister of these days was as usual busy, listening to majority Treasury and occasional Opposition members. Just two rows back, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, who these days wears more than a ministerial look, could be seen busy deeply indulged in chit-chat with Shazia Marri, Ms Qaimkhawani and Nausheen Saeed. So loud was their laughter, one could hear many words up in the Press Gallery: Ishq-e-Mamnoo, a soap opera, was uttered most prominently, perhaps a passing reference to some issue at hand.

Opposition front row, surprisingly, depicted the same mood with a little sobering effect which is always added in due to the presence of Opposition leader, Ch Nisar Ali Khan. Majority of the Rawalpindi region MPs are generally more obediently tucked in the second and third rows behind him, monitoring very carefully each and every gesture of their great leader, who even in Opposition, literally rules Rawalpindi and Pothhar regions for the last four years. Interestingly, as close aides of the mighty party bosses, the Sharifs, would put it - Javed Hashmi's exit left a vast field open for Nisar to occupy, but unfortunately it didn't increase his status in party cadres.

A simple but shrewd Senator Ishaq Dar has covered a lot of ground over the years through a natural advantageous position of being household of elder Sharif, now his eyes and ears. Be it backdoor communication with the PPP-led government or the military establishment, Ishaq Dar is a more trusted option for elder Sharif, in particular. Still every League MP is supposed to be obedient and courteous towards Nisar, their literal defacto leader in twin cities. And in absence of Hashmi, even his group comrades, like Khawaja Saad Rafiq and others have no option but to keep on pleasing the Potohar bigwig.

With Leader of the House choosing to stay away today due to several other pressing engagements, Leader of the Opposition Ch Nisar Ali Khan is the only attraction left in the National Assembly these days. But, he too, remains a little muted, except during occasional media talk in his Parliament chamber. With Ch Aitzaz Ahsan enjoying a more sober but secluded status in the Upper House, and choosing at the same time to be more choosy and cautious in his political outbursts, Nisar has played to the galleries well during the last four and a half years, sometimes employing his debating abilities to test to last extent the nerves of newsmen sitting in the Media Gallery. Some of them were literally spotted during the past weeks and months wishing the soon he winds up emotional and hard hitting speeches the better for their long duty timings, and spirits as well. People in the gallery also miss the presence of Deputy Premier Ch Pervaiz Elahi and Maulana Fazlur Rehman - both busy these days planning difficult electoral battles for their under pressure parties. But for a change, let’s admit, we also miss former premier Gillani. Absence any legislation, he won't be able to make it to the next assembly as well.

From the Hajj scandal to the Ephedrine case, the basket is full to criticise the four years long governance of Gillani generally riddled with inefficiency and allegations of rampant corruption, but the only thing legislators and media people remember and miss him for these days was his exceptional presence in Parliament, especially in the Lower House.

Gillani used to enjoy sitting on the seat of Leader of the House, gesturing, rising up and addressing the legislators like a front line political leader. He would even occasionally try to directly answer questions of MPs - British Parliament style. Stark ground realities of the Pakistani politics perhaps dawned on him later on. His body language and "acceptable for all" personality didn't time well with that of his political boss, and his exit was crafted in a shrewd way.

He could have reversed the conspiracy web, but in absence of effective governance, he couldn't muster support from party cadres as well as the public at large. First he was asked to have a go at agitated Sharifs, and finally the military establishment in the memogate days, early this year. So he ran out of favours from both sides. Now when the Pir from Multan looks back, we can hear from his close circles, he smells some rat in the whole scheme of things he was asked to pursue to become a 'political martyr'. In return, he has got so little: first FIA and now pending NAB inquiries, and a limited political role for South Punjab. To add insult to injuries, none of his legislator-sons was accommodated in the federal cabinet as a full fledge member. Incumbent premier Raja Pervez Asharf is a different man who wants to 'grab' (politically) so much in the little time he has got. Thanks to the Swiss letter issue against President Zardari amicably solved; otherwise Raja would have enjoyed the same length of premiership Ch Shujaat Hussain had enjoyed when he became a "stop gap premier".

Not an eloquent personality and always short of words, Shujaat till date struggles to define his premiership - stop gap (he doesn't understand), caretaker he was not, a full-fledge premier (for around 45 plus days). Having risen from grass-root level, Raja of Gujjar Khan is a different mould. With so much work at hand, he graces Parliament occasionally. Other engagements include directing massive funds for his Gujjar Khan constituency, and securing a party ticket for his brother, Raja Imran Ashraf, from the NA-48 constituency. He has to, insiders reveal, keep an eye on Co-chairman's activities and schedule at the Presidency as well as report every matter no matter how small it is. Let’s understand the odds in the way of his tricky premiership.