LAHORE - The National Assembly, which was supposed to remain in session for 19 days, was abruptly prorogued after a few hours sitting on Monday, because of rains in Sindh, which have caused losses of billions of rupees. This single day session would cost the exchequer Rs 9 million. The medical expenditure of the lawmakers has not been included in this calculation. When the house meets for a single day, the parliamentarians are entitled to allowances for a week, three days before and three days after the session. The daily allowance of an MNA is Rs 1,000. He is entitled to Rs 750 as conveyance allowance and Rs 2,000 for housing. The National Assembly comprises 342 members. At the rate of Rs 3,750 per member per day, every legislator would pocket Rs 26,250 for the few hours he spent in the Parliament House on Monday. That rains have caused havoc in Sindh was not a sudden development. Rains have been going on for the past few days and all TV channels have been showing the footage of various areas affected to varying degrees. The money wasted on the session could have been saved by calling off the session before time. Only a press release approved by the president would have served the purpose. But the trustees of the national exchequer did not exercise this option. Known for extravagance and facing corruption allegations, they thought it fit to let the parliamentarians assemble for a few hours and get qualified for what can rightly be described as 'booty. The ruling PPP has been doing the same thing in Punjab, where along with the PML-Q it is sitting on opposition benches. Many a time it requisitioned sessions of the Punjab Assembly, which were called but prorogued the same day on one pretext or the other. At times, the agenda for which the sessions had been called could not come under discussion at all. Still, the kitty was 'robbed of millions of rupees. When one session was prorogued, the opposition benches requisitioned another, without any burden on conscience. Unfortunately, in Punjab the PML-N leadership also did not play any different positive role. Instead of holding a serious discussion in the house, the PML-N legislators waited for the moment when they could point out lack of quorum. The moment they found the members were not present in the required numbers, they sought speakers intervention to have the session adjourned sine die. The situation both in Islamabad and Lahore has been given in detail only to let the readers compare the conduct of the leaders of the major political parties. Only a few days ago, the PML-N president had said that all political leaders should lock themselves into a room, discuss all major problems facing the country and work out some solution. He also proposed that the leaders should not come out of the room unless they had reached some agreement. Similar views had also been expressed by the president of the PML-Q. The question is if these leaders seriously wanted heads of all parties to lock themselves into a room to find solution to the countrys problems, why their parties did not use the assembly sessions for the purpose? Was the assembly not the best and the most relevant forum for such discussions? If it is, why their legislators failed to do what they should have done? Should it be taken to mean that the leaders dont actually mean what they say? Had the PML-N been really serious in discussing the national issues, it should and could have requisitioned an NA session immediately after it had been prorogued. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the opposition leader, held a press conference on Tuesday to explain his personal position with regard to what had been attributed to him by WikiLeaks and the nationality of his family members. But he did not indicate that the opposition would call a session to discuss national issues. It appears that there is no difference between one party and the other as far as pocketing of national resources is concerned. Some observers are of the view that anybody responsible for wasting national resources must be made to compensate. Those who requisitioned assembly sessions but failed to maintain quorum should be asked to pay the entire expenditure for the sitting. It would be good if all legislators returned the money they had received without any contribution to the session. But only conscientious people can be expected to do this. Do we have such elected representatives? '