The formation of the new government has created a very hostile environment in the assemblies of the government. This is primarily because of the active persuasion of the narrative that all mainstream parties are corrupt. When a ruling party builds on such a narrative, it not only disregards the support base of other parties but also closes up channels of dialogue. In the last nine months, more than debate people of the country have witnessed a blame game and a discussion which is neither constructive nor adds to the debate in any manner.

At a recent session in the National Assembly (NA), the government neither had a concrete agenda to discuss nor were the present members interested in engaging in a debate which would add to the political narrative. This was before Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took a turn to speak and asked the government very important questions regarding implementation of National Action Plan (NAP), the role former Finance Minister (FM) Asad Umer played, the role of the new Interior Minister Ijaz Shah and pointed out the lack of a concrete plan. These are all important questions which should be answered, but the Interior Minister pointed out his lack of knowledge for the ongoing situation and the members of the party engaged in a ruckus only to be answered with the same intensity by members of PPP.

A similar situation unfolded in the Punjab Assembly where the Food Minister was being questioned about the Food Development Authority (FDA) and its jurisdiction over the food outlets and fining them without a precaution. PMLN lawmaker Malik Arshad wanted to understand the formula used to determine the minimum food security reserve amounting to one million metric tons, only to find the Minister lacking an answer and the Speaker urging to let the matter go before PTI lawmakers indulged in the blame game once again. This is the key time that lawmakers are wasting by indulging in rhetoric politics, which seems appealing in front of a screen but if done in assemblies, takes the attention away from core issues. It would not be an exaggeration to say that parliamentary reforms are increasingly losing their validity and relevance. In order to retain this relevance, both sides need to actively adhere to parliamentary and democratic norms which create space for dialogue and establish a feedback mechanism.