For another day the cool but cunning cat in Asad Qaiser, the Speaker of the National Assembly, prevented a chaotic scene to develop from the floor of a House he presides. After many days of deliberate dilly-dallying, he finally signed the order asking NAB to bring Khawaja Saad Rafique to Islamabad for attending the ongoing assembly session.

The NAB had nabbed this PML-N MNA from Lahore around two weeks ago. Almost three days after this arrest, the National Assembly session was summoned.

The rules for conducting business here clearly empower the Speaker to order the presence of a jailed or under interrogation MNA to house business. Taking advantage of this rule, Mian Shehbaz Sharif has been attending the assembly sittings since his arrest by the NAB.

The government had also allowed him to take the chairmanship of Public Accounts Committee after showing much resistance.

Asad Qaiser did not appear so obliging when it came to Saad Rafique. Apparently, he felt reluctant due to critical and defiant remarks that some young minister kept drumming against the “opposition-friendly” behaviour of Asad Qaiser.

The corruption-hating base of the PTI hates the Rule 105 that allows an MNA, nabbed for serious allegations of corruption, to attend the assembly sittings, “like member of a privileged elite.”

It offends and irritates their anti-corruption zeal, and diehard admirers of Imran Khan desperately want this Rule to be removed from the book.

The Speaker has his limitations, though. He has to ensure calm in a House where the opposition is present with solid and vocal numbers. But he could not afford to appear too yielding to PTI base either.

With the clear intent of buying time, he surprised many of us by suddenly adjourning the House until Thursday while concluding the Monday sitting. This furnished two clear days for him to ponder over the question of signing or not signing the order for Saad’s presence in the House.

He could not afford saying no. Sardar Akhter Mengal, a weighty voice from Balochistan who supports the PTI government without accepting a ministerial position, firmly supports the opposition on issue related to Saad’s presence in assembly proceedings.

Another ally of the ruling party, MQM, also joined the opposition walkout on this issue. Qaiser had to find the middle ground.

Thursday morning, he signed the production order. It took time to reach NAB that also required time to dispense with procedural obligation and arrange for Saad’s travel to Islamabad. Until my leaving the assembly, Saad has not reached there.

It is but obvious though that he might be attending the Friday sitting. And this will be the last sitting of this session. In short, Khawaja Saad Rafique will savour some relief only for one day. But the opposition can’t force for more.

Disregarding the requirement of starting the House proceedings with the Question Hour, Mian Shehbaz Sharif asked for the floor at the outset of Thursday sitting and tried to take the government on while agitating about another increase in electricity prices.

I seriously wish that the Opposition Leader had confined himself to discuss the grim looking aspects of our economic scene. In the haste of scoring point after a point, however, he switched to teasingly wonder as to what happened to the creation of “South Punjab Province.”

Close to the elections of July 2018, the PTI had vowed to establish it, within first 90 days of its government.

Instead of embarrassing the government, merely on economic issues, Shehbaz Sharif’s taunts regarding the creation of another province, provided the treasury benches with an escape route.

Tariq Bashir Cheema and Amir Dogar stood to question the PML-N’s sincerity” on this issue. Finally, it also helped Makhdoom Shah Mehmud Qureshi to deliver another lengthy speech to explain as to what caused the delay.

As a street hardened political worker, Syed Khurshid Shah of the PPP, instinctively knew that taking on the economic management of this government was the need of the hour. He delivered an engaging speech on this issue and the government had no answers to questions rubbed in by him.

Asad Umer, the financial whiz kid of the PTI, had conceded to a Senate Committee on Finance Wednesday that the government might need to present a “mini budget” for National Assembly’s approval “sometime in early January.”

Before heading for the elections of July 2018, the government of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had prepared a comprehensive budget for 2018-9. The outgoing assembly passed it without much ado.

But after taking over, Asad Umer asked for ruthless revamping of the passed budget. Apparently, he added or deleted nothing substantive from the budget prepared by Miftah Ismaeel and the assembly hardly resisted passing the repackaging of it by Asad Umer. Now the finance minister intends to go for another revamping.

The main objective is to ensure collection of Rs 190 billion, in addition to the revenue streams suggested previously. It is but obvious that the IMF wants it before considering the release of 7 to 8 billion of US dollars to Pakistan in the name of a ‘stabilisation package.’

The consumers of electricity will be the main victims of the additional burden because a massive amount of Rs 140 million is to be extracted from them. Asad Umer seems oblivious to possible blowback of his plan in this age of Yellow-Vested Movement of France.

An average Joe all across the world can’t fathom the nuanced issues of macro or micro stability. You and I just don’t want to faint after seeing our monthly electricity bills, which already appear unbearable to anxiety-hit middle class types. The additional burden might look doubly unmanageable in the given gloom on our economic front.

The PTI government will find it too hard to explain to us as to why it opted to put more burdens on us, when brothers and friends like Saudi Arabia and China had presumably taken care of this government’s problems related to macro stability etc.

This government is lucky for having a rudderless and NAB-fearing opposition. But it must not forget that the Yellow-Vested Movement surged like a Tsunami above and beyond the traditional political parties of France.

Asad Umer should ponder over the rise and rise of it before enforcing another “revamping of the budget” on our shoulders.