Every time Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari meet, it gives the impression that the opposition effort against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), which has so far been lacklustre and divided, is finally picking momentum. Maryam Nawaz, set to step in the shoes of her father by leading the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is emerging as the new voice for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), are perhaps a united opposition’s only hope.

Yet if these two young leaders aim to provide meaningful resistance and convince people to their cause, they need to be more responsible in their criticism of the government. While we acknowledge that the opposition effort is still new, the dialogue that has been reported between Maryam and Bilawal hints of the same over-used confrontational rhetoric that is espoused at political rallies.

Sunday’s meeting between Maryam and Bilawal, for example, was meant to deliberate the economic reforms of the PTI and to discuss the faults in the federal budget posited by the government. Both Bilawal and Maryam were in agreement that the budget was economic suicide, that PTI had failed the economy and that the budget should be blocked in the parliament- yet no specific errors in the budget were identified nor were any helpful suggestions discussed. Together, PML-N and PPP can block the budget from being passed- yet without any recommendations of their own, it is difficult to see how such a move can help the country in moving forward.

The opposition’s task is to hold the government’s feet to the fire and provide responsible oversight, not to create an atmosphere where dialogue with the government is impossible for political gains. We need specific reasons from the opposition as to where the government has gone wrong, rather than a catch-all term that the budget has “anti-people” measures. What the country needs right now is a non-partisan educated debate- not a replica of the chaos that occurs in the parliament.