While announcing the two-day, expense-paid, “break” of the Senate Tuesday evening, Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had asked the government to ensure the presence of Makhdoom Shah Mehmud Qureshi, when the house was scheduled to meet on Friday morning.

Through a ‘policy statement,” the Foreign Minister was expected to explain the salient points of an hour-long meeting, which Prime Minister Imran Khan had held with President Trump in Davos at the outset of this week.

Makhdoom Sahib did not turn up and no senator took notice of his absence either. Apparently, they preferred to focus on “legislative agenda.” Doing this, they took no time to indulge in trivial hair splitting. That forced parliamentary reporters to start yawning.

As if to furnish the “breaking news” for them, Senator Mushahidullah of the PML-N took the floor on a point of order. He defiantly claimed that Faroogh Nasim had allegedly threatened him to “behave or…”

It was a startling accusation, indeed. But instead of sticking to establishing the veracity of it, the worthy senator switched to tauntingly recall days when the law minister’s party, the MQM, used to “rule Karachi like a viciously unforgiving mafia.”

With assertive pride, the PML-N senator kept stressing that “even in those days,” Faroogh Nasim’s party could not manage his silence. The law minister should always keep this background in mind.

Then, he moved on to question the “academic credentials and legalistic skills” of Faroogh Nasim; also, kept wondering as to how “the MQM-nominated” Faroogh Nasim continued to stay in the Federal Cabinet, while this party’s leader, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, had already pulled himself out of it.

The manner, Senator Mushahidullah weaved his story surely dampened the frightening content of it. We simply failed to appreciate, without any doubt, whether an otherwise suave and urbane sweet-talker, Faroogh Nasim, did threaten the PML-N senator like a street ruffian.

This motivated Ms. Sherry Rehman of the PPP to bring some sobriety to the house, by putting serious questions on a significant development, i.e., the Trump-Imran meeting in Davos.

Through a brief appearance before the global media, both the leaders had clearly conveyed that the top most agenda of the said meeting remained Afghanistan. Kashmir had also been discussed, but as if in passing. Pakistanis should surely feel worried, if that were the case.

Focusing on this aspect, Ms. Sherry Rehman raised her voice to firmly demand that not less than Prime Minister Imran Khan should himself come to the Senate to explain as to why “instead of Kashmir, Afghanistan looked like the priority for him” while talking to the US President.

She did sound audaciously hopeful, though, while seriously expecting that Prime Minister Imran Khan would himself come to the Senate to assuage its members, by telling what really had been discussed during his meeting with President Trump.

Ms. Rehman is a fervent observer of the political scene. She certainly needs no tutor for discovering on her own by now that Prime Minister Imran Khan has no respect for our parliament. He seldom goes to the national assembly, the house he allegedly “leads” as the prime minister. His party does not savor the clear majority in the Senate and he feels doubly uncomfortable with “rabble rousing conduct” of this house, overcrowded with opposition representatives.

The most important law, his government has passed, since taking over in August 2019, “settled” the complicated questions related to the appointments of Services’ Chiefs and rules for extensions in their tenure.

The national assembly had approved the proposed law with unprecedented speed, that too with an overwhelming consensus. Yet, most commentators anticipated problems in the Senate, where the opposition parties relished the absolute majority.

Prime Minister had not bothered to approach even one opposition senator to seek “cooperation” for smooth adoption of the same law by our upper house of parliament. He even stayed away from the Senate-sitting, which had approved the same law, again with unprecedented speed and mindboggling consensus.

Why would he care to brief the same Senate regarding his meeting with the US President? He should rather enjoy the luxury of even acting ignorant about the existence of this house, almost with contempt. He surely had discovered the limits of its weight and punch. He knows how to push its “rowdy” members to rubberstamp laws, prepared by his government.

Mir Hasil Bizenjo of the National Party from Baluchistan had not joined the “consensus” that the Senate displayed during the speedy passage of the law related to the appointments of Services’ Chiefs. Wisely knowing his limits, he preferred to put some questions, which he humbly hoped could easily be answered by the Foreign Minister.

Even if the Foreign Minister was not available, he genuinely expected Mushahid Hussein Syed of the PML-N to provide answers to questions, agitating his mind of late.

To manage sufficient time for Hasil Bizenjo, Salim Mandwiwallah, the deputy chairman, continued to hold the sitting after an-hour long break for the Jumma prayer.

Taking advantage of it, the articulate senator from Baluchistan went back to the times when the State of Pakistan visibly appeared as if finally discovering that it had failed to cultivate the USA as a trustworthy friend, even after many decades of a “strategic alliance.” It decided to deepen and widen its friendship with China and eventually developed CPEC as the poster-project, asserting the “strategic shift.”

With the advent of the Imran government, however, many of its ministers began publicly questioning the “transparency and validity” of various CPEC-related projects. Murad Saeed, the youthful minister of communication, eagerly began vending the accusations that “massive corruption” was committed for connecting Multan with Sukkur through building a state of the art highway. Razzaque Daud, the Advisor on Commerce, meanwhile, kept questioning the utility and validity of various projects, conceived under the umbrella of CPEC.

After the cool-headed recall, Mir Hasil Bizenjo felt forced to widely quote from a talk that a high official of the US State Department, Ms. Alice Wells, had delivered at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS), during her recent trip to Islamabad. Through her candid and blunt talk, Ms. Wells even alleged that many companies “blacklisted by the World Bank,” had financed and executed various projects of the CPEC Doing this, Bizenjo said categorically, “Ms. Wells was mostly repeating what some ministers of this government had been saying, publicly.”

This forced the senator to seriously wonder whether Pakistan and the USA had come on the “same page,” when it comes to question the transparency and validity of CPEC. Doubly worried he also sounded by recalling with an offended heart that the Chinese Ambassador had to rebut the anti-CPEC tirade of Ms. Wells. The spokesperson of our foreign office belatedly issued a “correcting” press release. But the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues have yet to confront Ms. Wells with counter arguments.

Mushahid Hussein Sayed is the most consistent and energetic supporter of Pak-China friendship since the late 1970s. He also runs a think tank, diligently promoting and defending the CPEC. In spite of being a PML-N Senator, he stood to pacify Bizenjo and ensured him with a detailed statement that the US had already missed the bus, when it comes to CPEC. The project would keep moving on, with the vigor and speed originally planned for it. The USA is proving a loser, anyway, if you compare it with the rise and rise of China.

Yet, he had to admit that some ministers of the Imran government certainly issued “immature and irresponsible” statements regarding CPEC and the foreign minister should come to the Senate to explain the strategic priorities of the government he represents.

We have to wait until Monday to find out whether Shah Mehmud Qureshi feels the need of taking the worthy senators “on board,” on “sensitive issues” of “utmost public concern.”