Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz proposed the Federal Budget for the year 2000-2001 on TV and radio on Saturday June 17, 2000. As any former Finance Minister of Pakistan will tell you, Tom Cruise has it much easier in the two “Mission Impossible” movies he has starred in, moreover Tom Cruise has distractions of the third kind. PML(N) Senator Sartaj Aziz had a perennial smile when presenting the Federal Budget, the smile of a magician about to pull a rabbit out of a hat. In keeping with the present environment, Shaukat was far more grim, and looking uncomfortable in the trademark Pakistani bureaucrat white shalwar-kameez with black waistcoat outfit. Nevertheless the military regime’s civilian Finance Minister was optimistic in outlining his plans despite the fact that with the institutions of governance in the state of disrepair they are in, it is virtually a “mission impossible”. Shaukat in fact pulled a number of rabbits out of his hat, only time will tell whether the hat was deep enough to hold the rabbits and whether the rabbits were real and not illusions.