Almost with the speed of light, the US dollar has jumped to a record high in just one day of the trading session Wednesday.

And the same day, the Economic Committee of the Cabinet has approved around two hundred percent increase in rates of domestic gas supply provided by state-owned companies.

The directly elected house of parliament, the National Assembly of Pakistan, did not seem upset with these frightening developments, however.

With obsequious refrains of “Ayes,” the ruling party benches rushed through approving the bulk of budgetary proposals, during clause-by-clause reading of them by the State Minister of Revenue, Hammad Azhar.

The opposition was keen to discuss the performance of certain key ministries through bombastic speeches in the name of cut motions.

But their top-tier leadership did not want to miss the Multi-Party Conference that Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the JUI-F had hosted to find means of shaking the Imran government with mass scale agitation throughout the country.

Feeling confident about its numbers, the government was too willing to wait for them. After finishing with the MPC, the opposition leaders could return to the house and apparently had ample time to deliver speeches on cut motions.

Meantime, the government was almost through with tedious stages of the budget passing process.

The press gallery remained deserted; most reporters were busy with covering the MPC.

Some regulars to the press gallery preferred to stay put in the press lounge. Sitting there, they preferred watching the one-day contest between the cricket teams of Pakistan and New Zealand.

Instead of observing the house business via CCTV, their eyes were glued to screens showing the match, live. And our bowlers did seem determined to win with focused throwing of the ball at wickets. There hardly was any hint of doom and gloom in the air.

As expected, the MPC ended like a non-starter, at least on its inaugural day.

Akhter Mengal of the BNP opted to stay away. Told you in this column two days ago that Prime Minister Imran Khan had launched Jehangir Khan Tareen and Pervez Khattak to allure him back to the ruling alliance by all means and they finally accomplished the mission.

Some diehard haters of Imran Khan and his government are feeling too bitter about the conduct of Mengal. Being a seasoned politician with thousands of accumulated grievances, the heir of a veteran Baloch politician instinctively knew, however, that for the moment the combined opposition had nothing concrete to offer for healing the old wounds of his person, party and constituents.

If nothing else, the Imran government certainly has means and funds to expedite work on development projects that Mengal had identified for a resource-rich but miserably poor and deprived province of Pakistan, i.e., Balochistan.

Thanks to unflinching support that the MQM, PML-Q and Zardari-hating MNAs of the GDA keep providing to Imran government, there hardly was any visible chance to ‘reject’ its first budget through voting in the National Assembly. Mengal does not command the decisive numbers anyway. Realizing his limits, he had to act pragmatic.

Mengal hates to hurt Imran Khan, also for another reason: both had spent many years together in Aitcheson College of Lahore.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman desperately wants that the Imran government should have gone “yesterday.” He seriously feels that after resigning from the National Assembly, both the PML-N and the PPP can surely help him to assemble a huge crowd in Islamabad, determined to keep shaking the Imran government until it falls.

Being a first timer to the National Assembly, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari strongly believes that his party must not appear as if facilitating winding up of an elected house, and eventually the parliamentary system, by adopting an ‘adventurous line.’

He has attracted an impressive number of eyeballs by actively participating in National Assembly proceedings, which are mostly covered live by 24/7 networks. He wants to win more hearts and looks up to cultivating and expanding the support for his party with diligent focusing on parliamentary business.

He also has to keep in mind that Pakistan Peoples’ Party is still ruling in Sindh. Its third consecutive term has yet to complete its first year. The adventurous assault on the federal government can rather provoke a preemptive blowback.

From hearts of his heart, the Chairman PPP would perhaps rather wait for the moment where the Imran government appears taking the lead in “snatching Sindh from the PPP” with active support of the Karachi-based PTI activists, the MQM and Zardari-hating Pirs and landlords assembled in the GDA.

Incumbency surely has so many downsides in our political environment, where no elected government can meet people’s ever-growing expectations.

“Destabilizing assaults” by forces considered “the other” by your diehard supporters makes you a “victim”, though. And BBZ may rather prefer to look as if “retaliating against the foul play” before opting for a full throttled showdown with Imran government in Islamabad.

The PML-N remains a house divided. Not many hawks sit on its benches in the National Assembly of these days. Overwhelmed by very experienced and weighty pragmatists, the majority of PML-N parliamentarians strongly believe that the “inexperienced and incompetent team of Imran Khan” will miserably fail in managing Pakistan’s economy.

The non-stop wave of inflation coupled with coercive tax collection, will “soon” force the mass of salaried classes and owners of small and mid-level businesses to defiantly reject the “chemotherapy” that the IMF had prescribed for Pakistan. That may surely provide them a huge space to build momentum for striking a final blow to Imran Khan’s government.

Perhaps due to naïve wishful thinking, many PML-N supporters have also begun to imagine that some very influential friends of Nawaz Sharif, from among the ruling elite of two important countries, are once again in action to manage his ouster from jail. And, furnish the same kind of comfort that some of his erstwhile friends from the Gulf countries had arranged during the rule of General Musharraf.

Personally, I don’t see history repeating itself, in case of Nawaz Sharif, however.

But a keen observer of games that Asif Ali Zardari is famous for playing to stay relevant in the power corridors kept egging me on since Wednesday noon.

Pretending to be naïve, he wanted me to explain as to why the former president managed his personal appearance before the Islamabad High Court Wednesday to “voluntarily withdraw” the bail applications he had filed to seek release for NAB’s custody.

I had no answer to his question; was rather clueless in deciphering the real intent behind this move.

But the friend pestering me kept trying to project the said move in the context of wishful scenario that many in the PML-N had been spinning nonstop since the past two days.

I have yet to figure out how to connect the two apparently separate developments.