Our media certainly failed to correctly reflect the gloom and the sense of insecurity that a recent terrorist attack on a Mosque-Madrassa complex in Peshawar had triggered. It surely forced most residents of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa to nervously expect another wave of terrorist attacks in their province.

Yet, both the federal and provincial governments didn’t appear doing a thing to calm their nerves with action-packed reaction and subsequent handling. The Chief Minister seemed to have gone in hibernation, while the provincial Inspector General of Police annoyed people by issuing statements, which sounded as if underplaying the said incident.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmad of the Jamaat-e-Islami was thus justified in compelling the upper house of parliament to forget the given agenda at the outset of its sitting Thursday to comprehensively discuss the said attack. Along with the leader of his party, Senator Siraj-ul-Haq, he had spent many hours with victims of the said attack. That enabled him to narrate heart-wrenching stories.

Far more startling and highly disturbing was his claim that law enforcers had forewarned administrators of the said Madrassa that a terrorist attack was being planned against it. The attack happened exactly three days after passing on of this information. And the government could obviously not prevent the eventual attack. 

Ferociously taking on the government, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad also tried to promote the feeling as if our media had deliberately underplayed the said attack, like the government. It failed to generate the same kind of mass-scale rage and concern, which another attack on Army Public School in the same city had evolved around four years ago. Doing this, he projected Madrassa students like abandoned children.

He surely was not fair on this count. The rest of the opposition senators, on the other hand, continued discussing the same incident in the broader context of Pakistan’s historic connection with violent happenings in Afghanistan. Hardly a speaker cared to raise pertinent questions regarding the rise and rise of DAESH in our region and its potential to spoil the chances of restoring peace in Afghanistan, once the US and NATO forces would leave this country after negotiating a deal with Taliban. 

Yet, most astonishing and mindboggling was the manner, Shibli Faraz, the information minister, had adopted for dealing with a highly complex issue. With a straight face, he rather tried hard to make us believe that recently established alliance of the opposition parties, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), had furnished “enabling environment” for forces and elements, relentlessly hostile to Pakistan.

Instead of focusing on concrete details of the Peshawar incident, he preferred recalling some speeches delivered at PDM rallies. These speeches, he kept claiming, targeted institutions and outfits, directly dealing with national security. During the age of 5th generation warfare, Pakistan’s enemies were rather taking full advantage of PDM’s audaciously promoted “anti-state narrative.”

Fawad Chaudhry also peddled the same story during the national assembly sitting. On the last day of its session, most ministers also appeared obsessed to convey the message that the Imran government remained indifferent to the feeling of chaos and drift about it. Thanks to a sweating homework and desperate phone dialing, the government’s handlers of parliamentary business had ensured that numbers, required to maintain quorum, remained sitting on treasury benches throughout the last sitting of the national assembly. They zealously employed their numerical edge to quickly dispense with some legislative agenda, after suspending the question hour.

The same edge was also employed to preempt a huge embarrassment regarding a significant issue. Senator Raza Rabbani of the PPP had ruthlessly been displaying his command over law-related issues for constantly wondering about how the CPEC Authority was operating these days. The Ordinance, furnishing the legal cover for it, had lapsed many days ago. Yet, the government kept sleeping about it. Finally, it woke up to put a bill in the national assembly in visible haste and firmly prevented any filibustering about it.

Disregarding the opposition for drafting a law for regulating CPEC-related projects, the government had certainly preferred a wanton strategy. Pak-China relations savor amazingly unique consensus, even in deeply polarized politics of these days. Both the PPP and the PML-N rather keep competing with the PTI for taking all credit for conceiving and executing CPEC. This should have motivated the government to take the whole opposition on board for preparing the law for an Authority, apparently furnishing one-window for all the CPEC related projects. 

But since the passage of a huge package of laws, drafted with the intent of getting Pakistan out of the grey list of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the Imran government had decided to act solo by all means. It anxiously wants to prove it to the world that the massive majority, which the opposition parties hold in the Senate, would never be able to block or delay the legislative process. The government can always deliver on this front by summoning the joint parliamentary sittings.

The same intent also inspired Fawad Chaudhry to arrogantly announce in the national assembly Thursday that come what may, the Imran government was here to stay. After completing its first term in 2023, it also was all set for another term until 2028. The opposition parties should rather get real and start thinking of a strategy, enabling them to get rid of “leaders with proven reputation of being corrupt.” The same leaders, he strongly believed, were now annoying and alienating the overwhelming majority of Pakistanis by delivering “anti-state” speeches. Besides Nawaz Sharif, he also took on Mehmud Khan Achakzai for his “anti-Urdu” remarks in the same context.

Delivering the confidence-inducing and traitor-calling speech, Fawad Chaudhry disregarded the embarrassment the government had to face, hardly a few minutes before he took the floor. From the ruling party backbenches, people like Noor Alam

Khan and Riaz Fatyana ferociously agitated against the huge increase in prices of a huge number of not only life-saving medicines but also of usual tablets, we often take to deal with headache or flue.

Discussing the said issue, Noor Alam, aggressively took on “the hegemony” that non- elected advisors of the Imran government believed to be enjoying whenever it comes to take far-reaching decisions on significant issues. He rather felt “genuine sympathy” for ministers like Ali Mohammad Khan, “forced to defend the doings of unelected advisors” in parliament with lame excuses and unconvincing arguments.

Fairly a large number of ruling party backbenchers enthusiastically endorsed Noor Alam’s speech with loud desk thumping. But Prime Minister Imran Khan and his diehard loyalists are yet not willing to acknowledging the rage brewing among a

large number of “ever-electable types,” sitting on the treasury benches these days.