When a bill is passed, it is common for opposing parliamentarians who did not support the bill to voice their laments against the law. What is not common is for the very same lawmakers who approved the bill to turn around after a few weeks and complain about the law that they themselves supported just a few days ago.

This is the predicament that the Punjab Assembly finds itself in. After passing the controversial Tahaffuz Bunyad-e-Islam (protection of foundation of Islam) Bill on July 22, the same legislators are demanding that the bill be reviewed after it received a public backlash for its potentially unconstitutional content. PTI’s Hussain Jahania Gardezi demanded the government to amend the bill with the approval of the Federal Shariat Court, while member Yawar Abbas Bukhari sought forgiveness from the house for supporting the bill. PPP parliamentary leader Syed Hassan Murtaza, who was a member of the standing committee, also expressed regret for the bill admitting that he was part of the panel but had not been informed about its vetting process. Judging from the situation, it appears that the members of the Punjab Assembly, on both sides of the aisle, had not even read the bill or vetted its content, when they had approved it and voted to make it law.

For lawmakers to approve a bill they haven’t read displays sheer incompetence of the worst kind. The primary function of a provincial law-maker is to legislate—it should not be required to state that the least they could do is read the bills that they will be subjecting the people of their province to. The law that the assembly so nonchalantly approved could have dire consequences on the freedom of expression of citizens, on the education system of Punjab and has the potential of furthering sectarian divides and extremism. The lawmakers’ regrets after the backlash should not be accepted without any reprimand—all political parties need to introspect and ensure that their parliamentarians, whose decisions affect millions of people, are performing at least the bare minimum their job requires.