Adding insult to injury, after the clean chit from the judicial inquiry commission into rigging, the government has released details of the losses it claims Pakistan suffered due to the PTI-PAT protests last year. This latest report shows that though the PML-N may seem fine with tolerating the PTI in the National Assembly, the wounds from the “Go Nawaz, Go!” chants are yet to heal. If the PTI continues being an annoyance, PML-N will also continue to poke it in the ribs. Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar claims that the country was deprived of billions of rupees thanks to the political unrest caused by the two protesting parties.

The summer protests were not in the control of the sitting government, but what of the things are in its control? Is everything else that they are doing so dandy, that this is the only blot on their clean sheet? The LNG import deal has been a farce. Private and public firms don’t even want to buy the gas. The floods have been catastrophic, even though they were unexpected. Progress on building dams is at snails pace. Exports from the manufacturing sector have drastically fallen. When has the state not been in crisis under the PML-N and has anyone calculated the yearly losses?

It is one thing to say that the economy suffered, but quite another to say that the dharnas caused the Finance Ministry to miss economic targets. The accusation is that not only foreign reserves, but capital markets, foreign investment, public held debt, IMF programmes, Chinese investment, and everything including the kitchen sink, was damaged by Khan’s army in the last fiscal year. For the PTI, the PLM-N is to blame as the PML-N could have just given in to the demands and protests would have ended in a week. For the rest of us it is pretty clear that the economic performance before the dharna was nothing to celebrate, nor is the current situation anything spectacular.

Should PTI-PAT have just stayed at home, because the economy would be affected? No. Political movements and protests can be legitimate; regardless of what impact they may have on the state’s pocket. Politics is not like running a firm, where accounts are supposed to balance. We can argue that the dharnas should not have happened for many reasons. Money is not one of them.