For more than a decade since 2003, every President and Prime Minister of Pakistan has been working under serious security threats.

Finally in early 2015, mass scale operations were launched to fight against the menace of terrorism and things began turning to near normal with an amazing speed.

In the given context, one certainly felt extremely uncomfortable after entering Parliament House Monday afternoon. Before the start of another national assembly session, Prime Minister Imran Khan had come there to preside over an extensive meeting of the ruling party legislators.

All entry points to the Committee Room on the first floor of parliament house, where the said meeting was being held, were virtually sealed by arms-carrying personnel, watching over peoples’ movement in high-alert mode.

It generated the feel of complete take over by security outfits and made one recall visuals associated with ruling structures and apparatus of totalitarian or fascist regimes.

Parliament House remains one of the most secure buildings in Islamabad. You need to pass through several vigilant security checks before entering it. The Prime Minister should give an air of ease and comfort while moving in its corridors. His or her security details should look less visible and oppressively intrusive.

It was but obvious that ruling party legislators consumed most of the time at parliamentary party meeting in praising the historic speech that Prime Minister had delivered at the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2019.

After pleasing the prime minister with usual sycophancy, however, some members began wailing over the “rude conduct” of most ministers of this government. Imran Khan was reported to have heard them with generous patience. Listening to their accumulated grievances, he also dropped heavy hints that he might soon be expelling some ministers who had failed to deliver from his cabinet.

While patting the ruling party legislators with pep talk, Prime Minister Imran Khan did not tell them that while revamping his cabinet, he might prefer to bring more “technocrats” into his cabinet.

According to the grapevine, of late, Imran Khan has been frequently telling his regular visitors that most members of the national assembly, supporting his government, terribly lack the skill of delivering on daunting task of good governance. He needs “specialists” to deliver on a people-friendly agenda, especially when it comes to dealing with issues like health and education.

Already, he has conceded complete command and control of the Finance Ministry to Dr Hafiz Sheikh. Shabbar Zaidi has been assigned to collect revenues for the state of Pakistan and Razzaq Daud, another non-elected businessman turned politician continues to pamper a peculiar group of investors and exporters as a powerful advisor to Prime Minister.

All three of them hardly mingle with elected members of the national assembly. They rather prefer to stay aloof for them, primarily due to the instinctive contempt that “specialists” feel for usual politicians.

Crowding his cabinet with more technocrats, Prime Minister Imran Khan will surely alienate more ruling party legislators. But he does not appear much concerned on that account.

He remains hooked to the idea of delivering on his own, with managerial use of “specialized skills of technocrats.” Completely sold to the idea of top-down model of governance, Imran Khan focuses more on discussing the “rotten” sides of the parliamentary system these days and does not expect any good from it.

Little wonder, presiding over the Monday sitting, Asad Qaisar, the Speaker, behaved a bit too sternly. He mostly acted blind and deaf to a sizeable number of the PPP legislators, desperately trying to get the floor to speak on points of orders.

The opposition appears to have discovered by now that the Speaker will not sign orders to ensure presence of MNA, spending time in jail or facing questions in NAB’s custody, in house proceedings.

Stonewalling Syed Navid Qamar proved quite difficult for the Speaker, though. This PPP legislator from Sindh is a very experienced parliamentarian. He always sticks to the book of rules while pressing for the space to speak in the house.

Instead of merely wailing over the absences of detained members of the national assembly from house proceedings, Syed Navid Qamar raised a fresh and pertinent point. Asad Qaisar had no satisfactory answer to it.

An Election Tribunal had recently declared that more than sixty thousand “fake votes” were used to get Qasim Suri of the PTI get elected for a seat of the national assembly from Quetta during the election of July 2018. The PTI had elected him as the Deputy Speaker and he always behaved like a bad and stern cop while presiding over the national assembly sittings.

Quoting appropriate rules, Syed Navid Qamar kept insisting that the first thing the national assembly should do in this session was to elect a new “deputy speaker.”

Qaisar took the plea that he had yet to receive official notification of Suri’s disqualification as a member of the national assembly. From his heart, however, the Speaker was certainly hoping that Qasim Suri might return to the house after managing a stay order from the court and there would not be any need to elect a new Deputy Speaker.

Although forced to accommodate Syed Navid Qamar with a heavy heart, Asad Qaisar took long for giving the floor to Mohsin Dawar, a member recently released on bail after spending many weeks in jail under serious charges. Dawar desperately wanted to tell his side of the story and the Speaker employed every trick to elude giving him the floor.

In comparison to PPP benches, the PML-N legislators seemed visibly disinterested in participating in the house business. Shahbaz Sharif, the PML-N president and the opposition leader, was not present in his seat, until I left the press gallery to meet the deadline for writing this column.

Shahbaz Sharif had chaired an exhaustive meeting of his party leaders on Monday noon. The question intensely discussed there was related to joining or not joining the march that Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the JUI (F) is adamant to stage in Islamabad sometime after mid-October.

The PML-N president does not want to join the said march. His elder brother, Nawaz Sharif, firmly supports the idea of Maulana’s march. Shahbaz Sharif thus needs the support of a huge number of “pragmatic moderates” from his party to manage some distance from Maulana’s march.

To an extent, he did succeed in getting what he wanted on Monday. The PML-N expressed support for Maulana’s march “in principle.” But it wants the same to be deferred until late November.

The “pragmatic moderates,” dominating the PML-N legislators seriously hope that by November this year, their party might get some “relief,” furnishing ample space for them to continue with usual politics, even while sitting in the opposition.

Only the other day, Shahbaz Sharif also authored a series of tweets that displayed some “patriotic affinity” with Prime Minister Imran Khan. The speech, prime minister had delivered in the UN General Assembly, apparently triggered the series of those tweets.

The PTI has yet to even notice, forget acknowledging or appreciating, the said tweets. The PTI legislators and the so-called “base” of the ruling party are rather feeling too pleased with the speech of their leader at the UN.

They feel doubly good, also for the fact that even some known critics of Imran Khan’s politics were found flooding their Twitter accounts with praising words, when he was speaking at the UN General Assembly. They surely don’t feel any need to appease the PML-N while savoring the feel good high, produced by their leader’s engagements in New York, all through the previous week.

The “pragmatic moderates” of the PML-N also seem oblivious to the fact that “money laundering” was the second most important item of the agenda that Imran Khan had set for his speech at the UN. That clearly shows that Imran Khan is just not willing to forget and forgive “looters and plunderers.” He strongly feels that “faking as peoples’ representatives,” “plunderers” had dominated the political scene of Pakistan in previous ten years and it was time to make them face “ruthless accountability.”

I seriously fail to locate the real source of hope for some relief that is keeping an overwhelming majority of the PML-N legislators to look calm and wait for the “good days.”