ISLAMABAD - The lawmakers fought out the latest session of the National Assembly yesterday as the house seemed leaderless without Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and opposition leader Khurshid Shah.

Sharif was in Karachi for the ground-breaking ceremony of Green Line Bus Transport System and Khurshid Shah left for his hometown from Lahore as he knew the session would be prorogued.

On the last day of the session, the treasury and the opposition benches fell short of holding each other by the collars as the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was passed with majority in thinly attended proceedings.

The communication gap between the government and the opposition has widened in the recent weeks which is visible in and outside the parliament.

The cross allegations in public meetings, on print media and television talks shows indicate the ruling and the opposition parties were frustrated with each other. Seeing no hope of improvement in ties with the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf, Prime Minister Sharif hopes to keep relations with the Pakistan People’s Party at an acceptable level.

The premier has also tasked some close aides to keep in touch with the PPP before the PTI could hijack them. But the PPP and the PTI have formed an alliance within the parliament to keep the government in check. Ever since the two parties join hands, the government felt threatened.

The opposition had a real chance recently to push the government as treasury members hardly attend the proceedings but their lawmakers have been equally reckless.

In the recent sessions, the house has seen many quorums being pointed out. The opposition accused the government of ignoring the parliament and the ruling party practically turned a deaf ear.

Outside the parliament, PPP lawmaker Nafeesa Shah said the government was taking all the important decisions without consulting the elected lawmakers. She said the parliament could be used as rubberstamp by the dictators but it was not expected of a democratically elected government.

She accused the government of misusing its majority by bulldozing controversial bills. Nafeesa Shah said the amendment in the ICT-LG Bill was tantamount to post effective approval. “They first took action and then went for legislation. This is strange,” she added.

Other opposition lawmakers also accused the government of pushing the laws at will and giving no importance to the opposing lawmakers.

Earlier, the hall shook with the sloganeering by the opposition members who tried to stop the Bill through their protest but in the end the ‘ayes’ had it.

The only peak point in the just concluded session was Prime Minister Sharif’s much awaited ‘visit’ but that was also marred by the opposition’s walkout over the passing process of a motion of thanks for President Mamnoon Hussain’s address to the joint sitting of the parliament.

The PM’s presence earlier this week had brought some life to the otherwise dull session but it was short-lived as the hall began to give the same old deserted look after his brief showing.

During the proceedings, Asad Umar, Asif Hasnain and Sher Akbar claimed three Deputy Mayors for Islamabad would increase the expenditure unnecessarily.

Shazia Marri and Amjad Ali advised the government to respect the constitution and stop imposing controversial laws. State Minister for Interior Balighur Rehman, who piloted the bill to amend the ICT-LG Bill, said the legislation was done for the first time in the country’s history to hold local government elections in the federal capital.

He said the people had voted for the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and given it a mandate to take decisions in the public interest.

Earlier, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan had lifted sanctions against Iran and as soon as there is clarity in sanctions at international level, the work on Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline will start.

On a point of order raised by Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar said the issues of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the federal government, pending for the last two decades, had been resolved. He said the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government will receive Rs 70 billion arrears of net hydel profit during the next four years.

Parliamentarians believed the government should have taken the opposition into confidence before getting the amendment in the ICT-LG Bill passed by the house.

“Hue and cry in the house on Bills means the government has not completed its homework,” said one lawmaker.