If a serious believer of conspiracy theories, I might not have taken much time to imagine and vigorously peddle the theory that Imran government was being deliberate to viciously demolish whatever is left regarding the prestige and relevance of an elected parliament in Pakistan.

Around two weeks ago, the government had summoned the national assembly session without setting any legislative agenda for it. The sole purpose seemed to extend the shelf life of some “laws,” that the President had already enforced through blindly signing on government-prepared “ordinances.”

After recklessly using the national assembly for a trivial matter, the government decided to act magnanimous by agreeing to hold ‘general discussion’ on nonstop wave of inflation, now touching the unbearable limits.

The opposition desperately needed the said discussion, merely to mark its presence. Late last year, both the major opposition parties, the PML-N and the PPP, had lost their vigour and credibility by extending “unconditional support” to the Imran government for passing a significant law, which settled multiple issues related to the appointments of Services’ Chief and possible extension of their tenure.

To ensure passage of the said law with a record-setting speed, both the government and the opposition conveniently disregarded the deep polarization, they continued to fuel for the past many years.

The “consensus” they developed to handle a potentially explosive matter, clearly conveyed the message that the so-called “principles” were not the main cause of friction among them. Seizing power remains the main bone of contention and no “ideology” furnished any distinct identity for any political party of Pakistan. Our politics were all about power games.

The opposition parties eagerly wanted to wail over the price hike, primarily to fake and flaunt sympathy and solidarity with the poor and marginalized millions of Pakistanis.

To be fair, at the outset of general discussion on rising inflation early last week, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the PPP Chairman, did try to promote the theme that the “bailout package,” the PTI government had negotiated with the IMF, was the main cause of doom and gloom, dominating our economic scene these days.

Feeling visibly upset with his theme-setting speech, Murad Saeed, the youthful minister of communication, immediately stood from the treasury benches. Instead of staying focused on the issue of price hike he preferred to take on the person of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. He called him an “accidental politician,” who had taken over the PPP command due to a “fake will.”

The minister also laughed at rhetorical skills of the PPP leader. Kept wondering as to why “Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star” felt too shy to use Urdu, “the national language” to express himself and always read from the text, which someone else must be writing for him.

Saeed’s speech provoked the PPP to launch Abdul Qadir Patel for counter-attack. This very experienced activist from the rough streets of Karachi did try to get even with brutal use of the language and expression, bullies employ in schoolyards to settle scores.

The national assembly did try to act “sober” the day after. Dr. Hafiz Sheikh especially came to the house to deliver an-hour long speech. Through the same, he tried hard to demolish the stories of doom and gloom. Shahid Khakan Abbassi and Ahsan Iqbal from the PML-N benches, in return, attempted to wake him up and smell coffee. But then Omar Ayub Khan took the floor.

He is the grandson of the first military dictator of Pakistan. The PPP founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had served his government as a budding politician in the early 1960s. Instead of focusing on here and now realities, Omar Ayub Khan went down the history lane to prove the point that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a “sycophant careerist.” The third-generation leaders of the party, founded by him, were nothing but a bunch of greedy types.

The said speech, delivered by another front-ranking minister of the Imran government, provoked but ire from the PPP benches. Instead of responding through another speech, Agha Rafi left his seat to physically sort it out with the minister.

The whole idea of locating the real causes of unbearably high rate of inflation and suggesting alleviating steps certainly went down the drain.

I seriously believe that after discovering the limits of this national assembly, when it comes to discuss serious issues, the government should have refrained from extending its session. It preferred to drag on and also fixed a sitting for Monday afternoon.

Originally, the sitting was scheduled to begin at 4 pm. But someone in the government belatedly discovered that one of the founding members of the PTI and a lifelong loyalist of Imran Khan, Naeemul Haq, had passed away, after bravely fighting a many-year long war against cancer. To mourn his death, special prayer was to be held at the Prime Minister’s House. The national assembly was rescheduled to meet at 5:30 pm, therefore. Not enough members were yet present there.

Acting blind to almost a deserted house, Asad Qaisar tried to start as usual with the question hour. Doing this, he could not realize that most questions, 24 out of 38, had been put for the ministry of interior, but no answer was available for them. The ministry had asked for more time to collect the required information.

Monday was the last sitting of the national assembly session, anyway. Little wonder, not enough MNAs felt motivated to rush back to Islamabad after the weekend break. Yet, the Speaker wanted to flaunt his “dedication” to legislative work. I could not bear with a painful joke anymore.

While waiting for the national assembly to meet, I switched my attention to proceedings in the Senate. It too was holding its last sitting of an unnecessarily dragged session. Senator Javed Iqbal and Mushahid Hussein Sayed tried to utilize the day for discussing a substantive issue, however.

Through an adjournment motion, they made a serious attempt to make us believe that the IMF was reluctant to approve another tranche for Pakistan due to issues it had developed regarding some CPEC-related loans.

The PPP senators also joined them in taking on the IMF. It was accused of “dictating terms” to Pakistan while disrespecting our “sovereignty.” Delivering bombastic speeches, they also kept proudly referring to “all weather friendship” with China. Senator Nouman Wazir from the treasury benches fully endorsed their position as well.

It again was an unbearable joke that Azam Swati, the federal minister of parliamentary affairs, took the floor to spin assuaging stories in response to a fiercely put motion.

Raza Rabbani of the PPP was justifiably blunt to remind the chair that the said minister was miserably clueless regarding the agreement, Imran government had signed with the IMF. Dr. Hafiz Sheikh, the powerful advisor on Finance, remains the one and only, who could explain the details of it.

Being a shrewd politician, Sadiq Sanjrani, the Senate Chairman, instinctively knew that he hardly had any clout to summon Hafiz Sheikh, there and then, and force him to answer questions the senators had raised vis-à-vis the IMF. He preferred to prorogue the house, for obvious lack of quorum.