Where and when it has numbers, the PTI crowd can quickly transform from an ‘educated and disciplined’ one to an unruly mob; verbally and physically assaulting journalists and policemen, storming into Red Zone, wreaking havoc in the Lahore High Court, infighting and so on. Most recently, the party has been successfully demonstrating its ability to adapt the tactics of a flash mob. It is no coincidence that several ceremonies and functions hosted by the government or the PML-N have had a handful of people chanting “go Nawaz go”. Contrary to what some may hope or believe, we are neither witnessing a spontaneous, widespread grassroots movement nor is the ‘go Nawaz go trend’ one of its many manifestations. There are some people who crash the party with the sole intention of wrecking it. What the PTI, the PAT and other anti-government forces have been doing is not all that different. By causing planned disruptions, they are attempting to give the false impression that the masses are revolting against the government. Excellent sales pitch, but no one’s buying it.

Of course, there is no law against experiencing periodic fits of revolution even in the most inappropriate and unwelcome of settings. Then again, there is no law against stupidity either, but that doesn’t mean it has to be embraced or encouraged. While an argument may be made for protesting during functions hosted by the government, irrespective of their political or apolitical nature, the practice of breaking into ceremonies arranged by any political party cannot be endorsed. No party will be able to conduct its meetings and other activities, local or national, if this trend continues. It is a recipe for disaster, as it increases the chances of direct confrontation manifold and promotes hooliganism while adding nothing substantial or meaningful to the political theater.

And leave it to the PML-N to take the bait. Both Shehbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz have been reminding the people of their pedigree. We’re lions, they claim, perhaps offering a justification for actions unbecoming of reasonable human beings. The Prime Minister’s daughter and PML-N leader by default, Maryam, is proud of what transpired in Wazirabad and has owned the actions of PML-N MPA Taufeeq Butt, who assaulted protestors chanting “go Nawaz go”, as the PM’s motorcade left the event. Apparently, ‘the future’ is stuck in the past. Perhaps the seasoned Shehbaz Sharif could set a better example for those who are yet to grow up. Unfortunately, he too was found issuing warnings, threatening the PTI with “Allah’s lions”, who are self-admittedly with Shehbaz. Chief Minister Punjab should not forget what happens when blood-thirsty animals are unleashed on innocent people; the Model Town tragedy. Taufeeq Butt should be taken to task for his shameful, unlawful actions. It would be wise of the PML-N to refrain from openly threatening people with violence and act patiently.