Khawaja Saad Rafique was once known as a hyper agitator in the streets of Lahore. Age has turned him mellow. And the speech he delivered after reaching the National Assembly Friday certainly showed it.

His speech did not smack of defeatism, however. He rather made a lot of sense by strongly suggesting that the NAB was about to nab some front-ranking PTI politicians as well.

The accountability outfit might feel compelled to do so to send the message that it was above and beyond the political divide. Its cleansing mission does not target the opposition politicians only.

After generously admitting that NAB interrogators behaved polite and reasonable with him, he surprised us by claiming that during investigation, his opinions were also sought about a prosperous real-estate developer turned politician, Aleem Khan.

Aleem Khan has surfaced on our political scene during the days of General Musharraf. These days, he holds the portfolio of senior minister in Punjab government.

Since switching to the PTI, he was perpetually considered a weighty candidate for the post of Chief Minister of Punjab. After the July 2018 elections, he was about to reach there. With a canny sense of timing, though, the NAB summoned him to answer some questions related to his thriving business and we ended up with Usman Buzdar.

In a worried tone, Saad Rafique also vouched for the “sincerity” of Pervez Khattak, the former Chief Minister of the PTI-led government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He now heads the ministry of defence in Islamabad and often his issues with the NAB are discussed in TV talk shows and on floor of the National Assembly.

The mainstream PTI MNAs arrogantly disregarded the subtle hints Saad kept dropping for sending an ominous message.

Murad Saeed, who had recently been promoted to become a federal minister by Imran Khan, rather instantly asked for the floor after Saad’s thought-provoking speeches. Standing akimbo, he triggered commotion by drumming the corruption-hating theme of the PTI that its base loves listening to nonstop.

Earlier in the Senate, one of the most experienced and stunningly articulate legislators, Mian Raza Rabbani had passionately pleaded to the government that it should take the initiative of revamping the NAB-empowering law.

Many months ago, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, had issued a detailed judgment that pointed out serious lacunas in this law. The government did not pay sufficient attention to it.

This provoked another honourable judge of the apex court to loudly wonder, some days ago, whether the Supreme Court should itself strike down the faulty clauses of the NAB-related law.

Referring to these remarks, Raza kept reminding his colleagues that a perfect opportunity was there for legislators to act and take advantage of the space, made available to them by the apex court. His pleas invoked but an indifferent smirk on the face of Shibli Faraz, the leader of house in the Senate.

The NAB was surely empowered with draconian powers by General Musharraf. During his speech Saad had referred to some of them.

NAB, for example, can pick any politician, if it feels motivated to probe into his or her lifestyle only after receiving a complaint from a ‘patriot’, whose name is never revealed.

After spending two weeks under interrogation, even a person alleged to have committed a murder, can apply for the bail.

People picked up by the NAB can’t invoke this right until6 after completing 90 days in its custody.

The special courts dealing with NAB-related cases seldom release the accused persons on bail. They have to approach the superior courts and the Supreme Court had expressed displeasure on this side of the accountability story. It also seems to have set February as the cut-off date for completing the correction procedure by legislators.

The PTI-government does not seem too motivated to meet the deadline. Although to the surprise of many it has accepted Saad Rafique’s nomination to the parliamentary committee on law and justice by the PML-N. This committee also has to suggest the necessary amendments in NAB-related law.

Two PTI ministers that I separately met by chance while walking to the car park from parliament building were rather feeling too delighted over the news that after Saudi Arabia, the brotherly UAE had also released 3 billion US dollars to prop up Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves.

Being an old acquaintance, one of these ministers rather tauntingly begged to me that after the said news, “journalists like you should stop spreading the stories of doom and gloom about economic management by our government.”

I did not want to waste his precious time by recalling that the UAE decided to furnish this cushion after replacing Qatar as facilitator of the peace process in Afghanistan, recently accelerated after the appointment of Zalmay Khalilzad as the point person of President Trump on Afghanistan. Nothing comes for free in this cruel world.

The solid addition of 3 billion dollars will still not stop Asad Umer from enforcing a ‘mini budget’ to extract an additional amount of around 200 billion Pak rupees from you and I. The PTI government is rather set to make history of sorts, by presenting not one but two mini budgets in its formative four months.