- Dangerous because it involves taking unpredictable risks
Some of the slogans raised by protestors aligned with the PTI outside the Avenfield apartments were provocative. These were also highly condemnable because they invited the protesters to physically attack former PM Nawaz Sharif. The anger on the part of the PML-N leadership is therefore quite understandable. MNA Khwaja Asif was spot-on when he told the House that if this sort of activity was not discouraged, it had the potential to become infectious, leaving no political leader safe irrespective of whether he is in the opposition or the government. There is also a need on the part of the Prime Minister to discipline some of the PTI’s loose guns in the National Assembly who are always itching to pour oil over fire irrespective of its consequences..
This said, many would have reservations about the PML-N boycotting parliamentary proceedings, attending which is a task assigned to them by their voters. The appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and two members of the Election Commission is currently on the agenda. Unless Parliament resolves the issue by fresh appointments, the Election Commission will remain dysfunctional. It is not clear if Kh Asif, who was justifiably incensed over the affair, was speaking for himself or on behalf of the PML-N when he made the announcement. While PPP leader Raja Pervez Ashraf endorsed Khawaja Asif’s viewpoint, saying “it is impossible that you attack Nawaz Sharif’s house and we will cooperate with you”, he made no commitment on the part of his party about the boycott of the National Assembly proceedings.
Prime Minister Imran Khan needs to take action against the reckless PTI activists who raised irresponsible slogans during the protest because he is not only the chairman of the PTI but also the Prime Minster of the country. He has to ensure that a few short-sighted and immature persons are not allowed to endanger the country’s peace and harmony. Political differences and rivalries must not be allowed to degenerate into personal enmities. The PTI needs also to consider if it makes sense to continue spewing venom against opponents while simultaneously seeking their cooperation.