The opposition in the National Assembly on Tuesday raised their voices over issues they felt the government needed to answer to. The discussion initiated by PTI’s Asad Umer, started by questioning the conditions set in the IMF loan, and the repercussions they would have on the entire country. According to him, around 1.2 million were expected to be left jobless due to these measures, and the inflation rate would jump from 5 percent to 12. Members of all parties in opposition led by the PPP and including PTI and JI questioned the government’s plan to deal with these potential problems, and asked why they were not included in the decision-making process.

It is always in the interests of democracy when a parliament has a strong opposition in place to raise valid concerns on policies that the government wishes to impose, and it seems that the PPP, working hand in hand with other parties, has called for the PML-N government to explain the reasons for moves they feel are not in the best interests of the people.  The points raised were very valid and needed a response, but Shaikh Aftab deflected them by asking the members of the assembly to wait for Ishaq Dar, the Finance Minister to return from Turkey on Monday.

Among other things, the government also made the startling claim that no employees of PIA would be let off, out of the 19,400 people currently working there. The 12 percent shares owned by the workers would also be left untouched. It seems that the government, apart from privatizing a portion of it is not even attempting to tackle the real problem of PIA, which is mismanagement and overstaffing. How they plan on reducing the losses when a large chunk of those losses consist of paying those workers is a question lawmakers need to ask themselves.

Other items of business included passing resolutions condemning the Dir attack, abolishing the interest system, reforming the NADRA process and other issues such as the standardization of the publication of the Holy Quran. As far as condemning the attack goes, it will do just about as much good as it did when the drone attacks and other acts of violence were condemned in the past, which in short, were useless. Furthermore, how the government plans to abolish interest, given that they also operate in the world economy where interest is a fundamental part of the mechanism is beyond comprehension. Maybe the government needs to stop pandering to the crowd by passing motions that are completely detached from reality, and instead needs to act like it really does intend on taking viable initiatives that are in the interests of the common good.