The opposition members of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) have loudly and frequently expressed their frustration at the government’s handling of the coronavirus situation. In the latest Punjab Assembly session held on Monday, opposition MPAs held the Punjab government responsible for the corona spread and Awais Leghari, the PML-N MPA from Dera Ghazi Khan, said that situation of quarantine centre situated at Expo Centre was so miserable that it couldn’t be explained. Much like the last session, the opposition resorted to accusing the government of victimising political opponents instead of bringing the house in order to devise any strategy to fight against deadly coronavirus.

However, for all the hue and cry that the opposition raised, when it came to the actual proceedings of the assembly and deliberation over bills, even the most vocal opposition members were silent. The government was quite easily able to pass important legislation without any resistance from the opposing benches. It passed two bills, the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment Bill) 2020 and the Punjab Village Panchayats and Neighbourhood Council (Amendment) Bill-2020, within minimum possible duration as not a single cut motion was moved by the opposition.

It is good that despite the pandemic, the legislative function of the parliament has not come to a halt. Improvements needed to be made at Metropolitan corporations in Gujranwala, Rawalpindi and Lahore, so it was necessary that the Punjab Village Panchayats and Neighbourhood Councils Act be amended. However, if this is the strategy that the opposition is employing to pressure the government, it is clearly failing. The task of parliamentarians is first and foremost legislation – and we need intelligent debate to ensure that bills being passed are up to the mark. Instead of the usual theatrics, members of the parliament on both sides would be better served by researching the bills tabled and offering cogent refutations or recommendations, where needed.