Seriously wonder if a specific person, or a dedicated team, stays put in the Officers’ Gallery to monitor proceedings of the National Assembly and prepares an analysis report about them for prime minister’s consumption.

Since covering the National Assembly since 1985, the only Prime Minister I came across who showed any interest in knowing the proceeds of the House was Muhammad Khan Junejo.

General Zia had nominated him to the Prime Minister’s Office after holding “non-party elections.” Doing so, he strongly believed that an unassuming Junejo from Larkana was nothing but a humble  disciple and devotee of the Pir of Pagaro. He had no capacity to build and deepen a support base of his own.

Junejo proved Zia wrong by diligently focusing on empowering the parliament even while working for/with an ever suspicious and control-obsessed military dictator.

From day one of reaching the PMO, Muhammad Khan Junejo devoted himself to build one-on-one relations with almost each member of the assembly who had any importance or significance. 

Intelligently employing the youthful energy of late Malik Naeem, he established a very dynamic parliamentary party. During the assembly sessions, this body would meet on every first day of the working week. For hours, the prime minister used to be present there to keenly listen to as many members of the ruling party as the time would permit.

Two officials from the Intelligence Bureau were deputed to prepare analysis report of each assembly sitting and the prime minister would himself read all news and comments related to parliamentary business.

No wonder, in the end General Zia felt compelled to dismiss the Junejo-headed assembly that certainly was developing fast as a powerful stakeholder of the power pie in Pakistan.

The idea is not to suggest that Imran Khan should emulate Junejo; that may sound rather “suicidal” to his ardent loyalists.

But any prime minister, whose real source of power and legitimacy is the National Assembly, must keep himself abreast with thoughts simmering among the majority of ruling party members. Ignoring or disregarding them surely weakened all prime ministers who succeeded Junejo. None of them could complete their terms.

Since Thursday, the general discussion on the first budget of Imran Khan government has begun to drop heavy hints. Strongly suggesting that things are not so hunky dory, as they look to be, within the ruling party and its allies.

Asad Umer, once considered an icon of the “core ideological group” of the PTI, delivered a speech that clearly indicated that an overwhelming majority of the ruling party legislators are not feeling good about the “IMF-prepared budget.” They feel embarrassed in owning and more so justifying it.

The hardened cynics may disregard the speech Umer had delivered the other day, as “frustrated rants of a loser.” But to me, noteworthy was the spirited cheering that the majority of backbenchers expressed through desk thumping throughout his speech.

Syed Fakhar Imam is not a manipulative type. He is a very experienced politician with enviable command over the art of making a point while participating in parliamentary discussions.

Friday, he took the floor and delivered a data-driven speech from the treasury benches. It essentially projected the feeling that Dr Hafeez Shaikh had prepared a budget that wantonly failed to acknowledge the potential of our agricultural sector.

Imam subtly refrained from naming names and blame passing. Apparently, he merely attempted to highlight the potential of the agricultural sector in contributing to the fast growth of Pakistan’s economy and talked about the role crops like Cotton can play in the said context, if the state focused on providing and subsidizing inputs that applied research had introduced all across the world.

Almost each member of the ruling party, who had returned from “rural constituencies” to this house, kept interrupting his speech with endorsing thumping of their desks.

His demands for subsidized rates for tube wells and deletion of heavy levy suggested for tobacco growers were loudly endorsed.

Being an equally experienced parliamentarian, Khawaja Asif of the PML-N needed no tutor to fathom what was simmering in the hearts of ruling party legislators.

Little wonder, he focused his ire to take on those, read technocrats, “who land in Pakistan with a briefcase in hand and begin devising and executing policies to please their real masters and handlers.”

He didn’t name Dr Hafeez Shaikh either, but kept pretending to be upset with the hold that “unelected” types were relishing, when it comes to formulation of policies for the Imran Government these days.

Around two weeks before the advent of the budget session, Fawad Chaudhry had come out into the open to spin interesting stories that claimed that instead of ministers, selected from an elected house, “five to six non-elected advisors and special assistants” were relishing the real command and control.

His comments kept furnishing juicy stuff for eyeball-seeking anchors of TV talk shows that set and dominate “discourse” on political issues facing Pakistan these days.

The rants of Fawad Chaudhry could also be disregarded like many did to Asad Umer’s speech of Thursday. Both of them, however, shrewdly “verbalized” what the majority of ruling party MNAs keeps expressing in frightened whispers.

The heartburning of people, reaching the National Assembly after facing the stifling heat and dust of fiercely contested elections is understandable. They surely feel uncomfortable with pompous conduct and pampering of unelected “technocrats, summoned SOS from abroad to correct things in Pakistan.”

But the usual heartburning turns doubly unbearable when “technocrats” introduce a budget that jacks up utility rates, unleash inflation and enforce massive and broad-based taxation.

Both Asad Umer and Syed Fakhar Imam specifically emphasized on “concessions” furnished for sugar producers as well. The rates of this essential item of daily use have also been allowed to increase without a deserving check.

Jehangir Tareen, lest you forget, remains one of the most trusted aides of the Prime Minister. He keeps enjoying active access to Bani Gala, in spite of being disqualified to hold a public office by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Suffice is to remind that he also is a leading tycoon of the Sugar Industry that many call a “mafia.”

Prime Minister surely needs to “soften” some sides of his government’s first budget after careful reading of the mood prevailing among the majority of PTI MNAs.

I don’t expect a sympathetic revision of the budgetary proposals, though. The ultimate monitors of the global economy had enforced it on Pakistan in gulp it or leave it a manner.

The “panacea” they had prescribed is also viewed as “tough yet inevitable” to ensure the state survival. The budget is thus all set to be passed without much ado.

Desperately seeking “the charter of economy” with Imran Government, both the PML-N and the PPP don’t seem too serious in carrying out their threat of voting out the suggested budget. However, that will still not ensure prevention of a long-term blowback.