You can always expect Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) to be moments away from a harebrained decision that will undo precious hard work and generate mountains of ill-will. Several of the low-points of this term are product of such thoughtless, heavy-handed behavior – and yesterday it added another notch in this glittering collection of blunders.

Supporters of the PML-N along with lawyers stormed the accountability court hearing the indictment of Maryam Nawaz, surrounded the panel and loudly disrupted proceedings – their complaints; they were manhandled and prevented from attending the proceedings by the security forces.

Even if their claims are taken at face value, under no circumstances is charging into court premises, clashing with security officials and threatening the judge is acceptable. Perhaps they thought following the Interior Minister’s line would give them acceptance – but there is a difference between a well-argued complaint and a brawl. There is also a marked difference between a complaint and intimidation of the judiciary – and this is exactly what it was.

The immediate dispersal of lawyers and supporters of PML-N once the hearing adjourned prematurely, suggests that their actions were deliberate and an attempt to exert influence on the court’s proceedings in the favor of the accused rather than to float a genuine issue.

This is not the first time in recent times when workers and supporters of PML-N have shown their volatility when things seem going out of their hands. Such reactionary measures have always created trouble for PML-N. The PML-N leadership needs to realize that relishing a brawl is not always a wise strategy to win. The public still remembers the day when supporters of PML-N attacked the Supreme Court. People’s memory has not faded to the extent that they have forgotten the unleashing of characters like Gullu and Pomi Butt – all of which have backfired against them.

Ahsan Iqbal had received widespread support from across the board when he questioned the errant role of the Rangers outside the same courthouse.  Politicians, publications – including this one – stood by his demand for answers. Yet with this action, all of that support has been withered away and all those arguments undercut. It is easier to see the Rangers perspective now – perhaps the PML-N cannot be trusted with security after all.

The optics of this is worse; while Imran Khan peacefully attends summons by two separate courts, PML-N goons try to intimidate an accountability court to protect Maryam Nawaz. Nawaz Sharif should be reminded that such actions would alienate him further from the masses and state institutions.

Calls for an inquiry into the matter are now useless – what’s done is done.