‘Juvenile’ was the word that kept resonating in my mind while watching the conduct of our worthy senators Tuesday evening.

To begin with, this itself was an embarrassing fact that the upper house of our parliament had been called for a meeting after a long gap of around forty days. This gap clearly conveyed that the Imran Government could conveniently continue running the governance-related business, above and beyond an elected parliament.

The Senate, ostensibly considered an institution “affirming the federal credentials” of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, looked doubly redundant in this context. And no one seemed really pushed about it.

Yet, to be fair to our number-strong opposition, one has to concede that it indeed had forced the government to summon the Senate session through posting and pressing the requisition.

Following the regular practice, the government and the opposition senators did hold a meeting to set the agenda and the timeline of the summoned session, before the commencement of its first sitting Tuesday. Apparently, they had agreed to continue meeting for ten working days, but only to facilitate the focused and exhaustive discussion on issues that the opposition had flagged to justify the need of summoning the Senate session.

At the outset of the sitting, however, Raza Rabbani of the PPP took the floor to wail over the enforcement of not one but five Ordinances that the government had introduced through the President’s office. It is but obvious that taking advantage of its numerical edge in the Senate, the combined opposition is determined to reject all those ordinances. How and when to go about it was the question. The government was simply not willing to commit a word about it.

Azam Swati, the minister of parliamentary affairs, rather kept reminding the opposition that during their terms in the government, they too were relying upon Ordinances to introduce the laws of their preferences. Shibli Faraz, the Leader of the House, preferred to tease and taunt with mocking grins.

Salim Mandwiwallah, the Deputy Chairman, failed to handle the chaos. He suspended the house for fifteen minutes. Ms Sitara Imtiaz took over the presiding chair when the house resumed and she had come there, primarily to adjourn the sitting until Wednesday afternoon.

The anxiously awaited sitting of the upper house of parliament was thus over and done with, without dealing with a single item put on the agenda.

The collective behaviour of our senators looked painfully juvenile, if you viewed it in the context of the absolute confusion prevailing in Islamabad these days.

Starting from Karachi precisely ten days ago, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the JUI-F had reached this town with thousands of his followers Friday afternoon. Since then, he is staying put here and keeps threatening that he would not leave the capital of Pakistan, without extracting the resignation of Imran Khan from the Prime Minister’s Office.

Don’t blame the mortals like you and I, if we expected that taking advantage of the Senate sitting, “our representatives” would help us fathom as to what really motivated Maulana Fazlur Rehman to opt for a do-or-die looking showdown. Also important was to find out about how to prevent an ominous looking developing story.

Their conduct in the Senate forced one to feel that even “our representatives” were equally clueless regarding the real objectives of Maulana’s Azadi March, like you and I. Or, they are just not pushed to employ their collective wisdom to explain the dynamics of what is too visible on the ground.

The opposition senators did try to entertain us, though, by slogan chanting while staying put in the house for some minutes, even after the sitting had been adjourned. “Parliman Kau Izzat Dau (respect the parliament)” was a new slogan that my creative friend Ms Sherry Rehman has coined on the pattern of Nawaz Sharif’s “Vote Kau Izzat Dau (respect the vote).

Both these slogans sound really hollow to my cynical mind, when considered in the context of an impressive looking crowd that Maulana Fazlur Rehman had eventually gathered in Islamabad after nonstop mobilization of his cadres by holding “million marches” in all the major cities and towns of Pakistan for more than a year.

Not only the ruling party, but also most of our “liberals” and mainstream political parties remained contemptuously indifferent to his marches. Even after his reaching Islamabad, they have constantly ensured us that no government could afford looking like a hostage to a “mob of bigots, brainwashed” through cunning manipulation of the “religious card.” The state of Pakistan is equipped with all the means and resources to disperse the bullying mobs without much ado.

I never questioned the coercive reach of our state, but do feel compelled to state that Maulana Fazlur Rehman is neither Tahirul Qadri nor Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who were deftly handled after creating chaos “in the name of religion” in our recent history.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman is essentially a consummate politician. He fully appreciates his limits. He certainly leads a “religion-inspired” outfit, but had always played his political cards, according to the book and rules set in the constitution and by democratic norms.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) is primarily a political party of the religious-right and not a “Jihadi outfit.” It is not a crowd of rabble-rousers either. You have to rely on “political” strategy and tactics to deal with it. Mere dandling or employing of the “stick” would not persuade Maulana Fazlur Rehman to vacate Islamabad. He needs a “face saver” to flaunt before his followers, he had brought to Islamabad after spending almost a year in charging and mobilizing his “base.”

It would surely be naïve to expect Imran Khan’s resignation as the one and only “face saver” for him. A package of promises could still be prepared to make it look like the proverbial win-win, both for the government and Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

I seriously doubt that Prime Minister Imran Khan is still willing to concede a doable-looking package to him. The ministers, he has deputed to deal with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, are also not too smart and crafty.

No wonder, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussien, a former prime minister and a very experienced politician, had been summoned SOS to Islamabad to negotiate with Maulana Fazlur Rehman. The sources, close to him, are claiming with confidence that he might succeed to persuade Maulana Fazlur Rehman for leaving Islamabad, “maximum by the coming Friday.” Without commenting, one would prefer to wait and watch.