A slinging of mud from one side leads to the other side doubling down its attack, until the whole room is covered with dirt. This analogy rightly captures the affairs of politics today, where petty targeting and useless politicking dominates the playing field; tactics only meant to serve an interest, which have never actually achieved anything.

It is what is happening in the parliament today. After Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s strange and ill-advised speech, where he alleged that the Senate Elections should be termed void due to horse-trading and those elected be sent packing, there has been an opposite but equally confrontational reaction from the opposition. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) have decided to table privilege motions against the prime minister for his statements, terming them an “insult to parliament”. Opposition Leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman called upon the prime minister to tender an “apology” or be ready to face a strong protest. Fawad Chaudhry, of PTI, said the Senate represented the federation and the prime minister’s remarks had hurt the feelings of the people of Balochistan.

While the PM’s remarks were indeed uncalled for and rash, it is difficult to see what such outrage and threat of protest from the opposition will do to remedy the situation. Diplomacy and politicking in the parliament are tools to be used for passing legislature- instead of being used to fulfil its function of legislation and executive oversight, these tactics are being used as a theatrical tool by all parties involved. The opposition needs to play its part responsibly. It takes both the government and the opposition to run a state.

While the opposition parties might call for an apology from the PM over his comments, protests and using privilege motions against the PM is being unreasonable. At a point when the country is at its most politically divided, further rounds of useless politicking, which only prolongs the problem, should not be the way out adopted by the opposition parties. The PM’s remarks were damaging, but he did not outline any procedure for eliminating the election result, thus making the threat of the elections being termed void far-fetched. Further protests and outrage will just exacerbate the situation, and will make us never hear the end of the problem of Senate Elections; something certainly nobody wants. A major political confrontation is the last thing Pakistan needs right now, especially in the face of coming general elections.