Like it or not, Imran Khan’s Tehrik-e-Insaf is proving to be an efficient manager of the parliamentary business even after being too new to running a government and in spite of staging absurdly comic shows in the name of austerity during its formative days.

The number-strong PML-N strongly feels that with active help of some invisible quarters of the deep state, the PTI had managed to appear as the victor on July 25, 2018. Its leader vigorously wanted to prove their point through probing by a parliamentary commission.

Some of them wrongly imagined that headstrong PTI leader would never agree to their demand, thus justifying non-stop disruption of parliamentary business from their benches. During election of the prime minister they had firmly established their disruptive potential and since then eagerly waited to build it further.

Parliamentary managers of the PTI have succeeded to subvert their designs by acting cool and with moves that showed their “accommodating sides.” The death of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz certainly furnished a perfect opportunity for them. The government took no time to defer presidential address to the joint parliamentary sitting to facilitate an appropriate burial for her and observance of rites attached to such occasions in our culture.

After softening their opponents’ hearts by a humane and civilised gesture, the government decided to announce its agreement on formation of a parliamentary committee with specific objective of probing affairs related to the general election held on July 25, 2018.

The announcement took away a potentially explosive cause from the opposition. After this, its members could only request for equal representation of both sides of the house in the proposed committee. Some also desired that an opposition member should head it. Their demand sounded trivial and bad point scoring for journos sitting in the press gallery.

After taking oath as members of a national assembly formed through July-25 election, the PML-N has almost accepted its results as fait accompli anyway. It’s time to move on; also for the fact that a toothless parliamentary committee hardly has any tools or expertise to expose the alleged doings of the so-called invisible quarters. Economy remains the issue and the opposition is yet to spin an engaging narrative on that count.

Asad Umer, the finance minister, was expected to radically revamp the budget that the previous government had set for 2018-19. A flood of speculative stories prepared us for doom and gloom in this context. The sweet-talking Umer, however, surprised everyone by revealing his “mini-budget.”

If you rely on his words only, Umer has rather “improved upon” things left unaddressed by his predecessor, Miftah Ismaeel. This government is also trying to prove one-up when it comes to providing “relief” to the poor and marginalised.

Contrary to speculations, no massive cuts were announced in public sector development programme. “All CPEC-related projects,” conceived and launched by the previous government will be completed as planned. Revenue collection schemes and structures have not been revamped either in a radical manner. The so-called rich are not taxed as a punishment; their patriotic zeal is triggered rather.

For an economic-illiterate like me finding the devil in details is just not possible. We have to wait and see how the opposition calls the sweet-sounding bluff of Umer, if there is one for sure.

On an apparently smooth-sailing day, however, none other than Prime Minister Imran Khan himself opted to “explain” an issue that can backfire on multiple fronts if not handled properly.

During his first visit to Karachi on Sunday last, he had addressed a fundraising event there and while talking about the menace of street crimes also spoke of thousands of “Burmese and Bangladeshis” who had been living for many decades as illegal immigrants in that mega city.

Holding them exclusively responsible for the wave of street crimes in Karachi, Imran Khan did sound like immigrant-hating Donald Trump. But soon revealed his humane and caring sides by seriously wondering as to why these “non-citizens” cannot be adopted as regular citizens of Pakistan; especially the second and third generations that were born and brought up in Karachi. In passing, he also mentioned Afghan refugees living in that city.

The casual mentioning of Afghans had forced many to imagine as if Imran Khan intended to grant citizenship rights to around a million-plus Afghans living in Pakistan since the 1980s.

The core constituency of Imran Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can’t digest such mass-scale adoption of the Afghan refugees for the same reasons that provoke many bigots in various European countries these days.

As if their fears and reservations were not enough, the Baloch nationalists can also not swallow the presumed adoption of Afghans settled in their province as Pakistani nationals. Sardar Akhter Mengal is one of them and he had voted for Imran Khan during election for the prime minister.

At the outset of Tuesday proceedings, he stood to demand an explanation and Imran Khan tried his best to assuage his concerns while hinting as if his thoughts related to illegal expatriates were “Karachi-specific” only.

He did and perhaps could not finish there, however, and swayed by the humane streak went on to wonder as to why expatriate born and brought up in Pakistan could not be adopted as regular citizen of this country. And to press his point, he also referred to a law that was introduced way back in 1951. This law helps adoption of born-in-Pakistan persons as natural citizens of our country. His spontaneous rant on the issue clearly suggested him being sold to the idea of a caring adoption of illegal expatriates, including Afghans.

If he sticks to this idea, Baloch nationalists will get a potent cause to drum their already accumulated sense of deprivation. Being generous with expatriates in “Karachi-only”, on the other hand, can ignite strong opposition in the rest of Sindh where Sindhi speakers consistently keep expressing resentments over “conspiratorial schemes” that they perceive as aimed at turning them “Red Indians” on their own soil. Let’s wait to see how Imran Khan handles the possible blowback.