It has been 155 days since the recently-elected Pakistani Parliament was constituted, yet with the exception of the Finance Supplementary Amendment Act, no legislation has yet been passed. The parliament has had many sittings- yet those sittings have seen more trading of petty allegations between politicians rather than any constructive debate on legislation reform. The elected representatives play their political games and exchange their insults, all at the tax-payers’ expense.

According to Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan, the opposition is to blame for the lack of breakthrough in the parliament. In a scathing tweet, the PM said that the repeated walkouts by the opposition were “pressure tactics” to “seek an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) and evade accountability for corruption in NAB (National Accountability Bureau) cases not initiated by PTI”.

To make matters worse for PTI, the opposition has formed a committee to devise a joint opposition strategy on various issues. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari — who attended alongside Asif Ali Zardari a meeting with Shahbaz Sharif — said that the opposition had decided to devise a joint strategy, both inside and outside the parliament, to protect its human and democratic rights, which are under attack from all sides by the government,

We can sympathise with Khan’s frustration at the continuous standstill in the parliament. Yet perhaps the PM’s words might have more effect had he been present at the assembly sessions to voice these contentions. PM has attended only 6 out of 34 assembly sessions- neither has the PTI government followed through in its promise of the proposed PM Question Hour. If the PTI Chief does not attend the assembly sessions, it is not surprising that the opposition takes advantage of his absence to prevent PTI’s legislation drafts.

However, the government’s lack of diligence does not excuse the opposition from its disruptive actions in the parliament. The government has extended a hand of cooperation with its concession on PAC leadership- the opposition should, considering the good of the country, take it while it can. The opposition alliance does not seem set to succeed, considering the parties have stark ideological differences when it comes to certain issues- on military courts, for example, the PPP is adamantly opposed to an extension while PML-N supports it. The integrity and character of a politician is revealed when they are in the role of the opposition- Shahbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto are not setting the stage for themselves in the next elections very well if they continue to obstruct functioning of parliament.