What happened in Punjab Assembly (PA) at the budget session shows that political parties especially Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) are yet to learn the basic etiquettes of attending the assembly session. This is not the first time to witness PML-N workers’ rowdy behaviour in assembly. The attack on assembly staff and damaging the furniture and physically attempting to halt the proceedings of the assembly is not the right way to register a protest. No doubt PML-N reserves the right to protest if it thinks that party’s president is arrested without legal basis. And the protest that they made might send a message but a wrong one. PML-N needs to consider that the party has an image in the public’s eyes as a party that believes in heavy-handedness and, sometimes, crude belligerence to win a political argument. The MPAs of the PML-N went against their own electoral slogan that demanded respect for the vote.

If a protest has to be made the party need look no further than Opposition Leader, Shahbaz Sharif’s speech before the parliament. The address that Shahbaz made had the style of Fidel Castro’s famous speech “History Will Absolve Me.” Many who have interest in parliamentary affairs doubted if Shahbaz would ever play the role of Opposition Leader effectively might have changed their opinion after the last speech he had made in the National Assembly (NA). He successfully created doubt in many peoples mind about a possible nexus between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and National Accountability Bureau (NAB). His speech was a balanced one. It was a speech with an abundance of rhetoric, ethos and pathos and a show of respect for supremacy of the parliament.

The top leadership of PML-N should tell the lower cadre of the party to show respect for the democratic culture that is trying to evolve. Even after seven decades, democracy is as fragile as it was in its initial years. The fight over protecting parties’ positions and interest should not harm the process of democracy in the country. While PML-N does need to maintain discipline and professionalism, PTI would do well not to be so easily baited. The reaction of PTI to what MPAs of PML-N were doing was completely unnecessary. Shahbaz Sharif through his speech in the NA has already demonstrated the art of protest. PML-N workers need to learn from their president. A strong speech on the assembly floor obeying all the political norms and parliamentary conventions would leave a more impact on people, as Shahbaz’s speech did, rather than the antics in the PA where PML-N representatives fell for a show of raucousness.