There're heartburnings everywhere.


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...

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