Parliaments in usual democracies of the world mostly focus on making laws to deal with new realities that keep developing in thriving societies. Thanks to the election of July 2018, however, we continue to endure a national assembly in Pakistan, which never stops doing things that pretend to look ‘radical’ and ‘out of the box.’ During the Thursday sitting, one witnessed another version of such an attempt.

The day was reserved for private initiatives in legislation. Taking advantage of it, Riaz Fatyana of the PTI took the floor to introduce the idea of “post legislation scrutiny.” Fatyana is a serious and diligent type, often reminding you of the dedicated zeal of Senators profusely praised in literature associated with the Roman Empire.

In a worried but sedate tone, he told the house that Pakistan was already overloaded with a plethora of laws. Instead of adding into them, the national assembly should rather begin finding out how the already passed laws were being executed.

Khawaja Asif from the PML-N benches instantly stood to support him. Nafisa Shah of the People’s Party also endorsed the idea. Keenly listening to speeches on the matter, the illiterate me imagined to have gate-crashed into a room full of scholars, solemnly discussing issues related to laws and their execution. The house of “our representatives” looked completely alien to the rough and tumble of present day Pakistan.

Too close to the end of this sitting, at around 1:40 PM, Khawaja Asif grabbed the floor due to an aggressively pushed ‘point of order.’ He delivered a bombastic speech to inform the house that inflation was turning unbearable for ordinary Joes of Pakistan. The Imran government could not blame the previous governments of “looters and plunderers” for it. The recent shortage of wheat and flour rather conveyed that cartels enjoying the government patronage were amassing millions by greedily playing with supply chain dynamics.

The PML-N leader passionately demanded formation of a Special House Committee to probe the causes of recent wheat shortage. The proposed committee should also name people, who continued to let the wheat being exported in spite of oft-repeated directions of officially constituted committees, anticipating its shortage. The same is about to happen regarding sugar; its producers were allowed to export liberally and now Pakistan needs to import a huge quantity of the same commodity to keep its price affordable.

Khawaja Asif and his comrades were certainly too late to wake up to the reality of inflation. It indeed was a belated attempt to fake sympathy and solidarity with millions of poor and marginalized Pakistanis, constantly feeling being pushed to the wall due to nonstop wave of inflation since the start of Imran government in 2018.

Apparently having no solution to our problems, the opposition legislators merely wanted the speaker to fix a day, “sometime next week,” when the national assembly should exclusively discuss issues related to inflation.

Ali Mohammad Khan, the state minister of parliamentary affairs, had no objection to their demand. But he had to defend the government as well and doing this went on and on comparing the conduct of his leader, i.e., Imran Khan, with previous rulers, especially the Sharif family.

He accused its leading members of indulging in ruthless money making; dared them to reveal how many factories they owned before joining politics in 1985 and what was the collective worth of their assets and businesses by the time they were thrown out of power in 2018.

Imran Khan, Ali Mohammad Khan kept asserting, never owned a business. None of his sons or any of the close relatives was ever found building factories and expanding businesses under his patronage.

Murad Saeed, the youthful defender of the PTI, was yet not satisfied. He asked for the floor to get even with the opposition by delivering an aggressive speech. The clock was about to hit 2:30 PM; most members felt tired and had slipped out of the house. To prevent Saeed, Agha Rafique of the PPP pointed out the quorum and the house had to be adjourned for the lack of it.

One is yet not sure whether the Speaker would fix a day, “sometime next week,” for letting the national assembly comprehensively discuss issues related to inflation. I also have doubts that the opposition would seriously pursue the demand for it.

The PML-N is too busy in playing power games these days. Shahbaz Sharif led group of this party eagerly awaits the “in-house change.” None of them is willing to tell us about how they would reach “there.” Even if they manage to eject Imran Khan out of the Prime Minister’s office, where is the strategy and formula to ensure that economic realities would radically change, once they hit the target?

Lest you forget, Pakistan has already outsourced the management of its economy to IMF. The global monitors of our economy have promised to provide us 6 billion US dollars, but to ensure the sustained delivery of this amount in instalments; we have to enforce a “package of reforms,” which requires three years to complete.

In short, the IMF would exclusively manage our economy until September 2022. There is no scope for “autonomous” initiatives, even if Imran Khan feels forced to leave the Prime Minister’s Office.

Already, an IMF delegation is visiting Islamabad these days. Most of its members have reportedly told the government that it would fail to collect the amount of revenues, set for the current financial year. Evaluating steps taken for its collection, so far, there are loud suggestions for introducing a “mini-budget” to ensure collection of at least 200 billion rupees to reach the target set in the annual budget.

The government feels extremely reluctant to go for a mini-budget. It already seems exhausted coping with the political blowback of perpetual increase in the rates of utilities like electricity and gas. The focus on taxation has prevented growth in all the major sectors of our economy. Many are rather shutting businesses leading to frightening expansion of unemployment.

It, however, is not for the fear of political blowback only that the government feels shy of presenting a mini-budget. The PTI does not command the clear majority in the national assembly. It despondently depends on a disparate crowd of “allies” to sustain itself in the government. Most of these allies, especially the PML-Q of the Chaudhrys of Gujarat and the MQM are not feeling too good about their association with the government these days.

If the allies refuse to vote for the mini-budget, the PTI would not able to get it passed from the national assembly. And the defeat on a money bill is considered like a vote of no confidence against a sitting government. Imran government’s resistance to the mini-budget is thus understandable.

Yet the question remains: How to collect the amount of revenues at the end of the current financial year, which has been committed to the IMF with the idea of recovering and stabilizing our economy?