One must admire the tenacity with which the PMLN led government at the center returns to shoot itself in the foot the minute providence smiles upon it and offers respite. With each self-inflicted assault it hobbles around, precariously lurching from side to side, threatening to fall, when someone or the other saves it again, for it to pounce on itself anew. The tragi-comedy of this government conjures up the image of a giant idiot playing with matches and sharp things that it ought not to be allowed near. By turns the little people i.e., the civil society, judiciary, the parliamentary opposition, may be observed rushing to save the idiot from toppling on itself.

No one has forgotten the Musharraf, Geo / ISI, or the Model Town fiascos. Nor forgotten is the stupefying diversion of an Emirates airplane – by the railways minister, mind - effectively causing it to be ‘hijacked’ by Tahirul Qadri at the Lahore airport runway earlier this year. But the spectacle of buffoonery at display now is the crowning glory of this government. The completely artificial shortage of petrol over the last couple of weeks caused by the unmitigated incompetence of those in charge has caused unprecedented furore, contempt and derision. Even those who rush to save the government every time, are nonplussed by the insults it is adding to injury. Minister of petroleum, Shahid Khakan Abbasi, has made the public furious, having blamed consumers for their unreasonable and greedy behavior in the face of falling fuel prices and causing the acute shortage. Meanwhile, it appears that Pakistan State Oil defaulted on its import payments due to not being paid by Pakistan International Airlines and Independent Power Plants (IPPs), and hence could not place new import orders. However, the Finance Ministry did not bail out PSO – in time to avoid yet another political crisis.

The issue is, if the government cannot correct the structural problems (i.e., removing subsidies for price correction, debt recoveries from users of fuel or fuel based energy, building alternative and cheaper sources/supply lines), it should at least have had the political sense to bail out PSO in time to avoid another crisis in the country. One is not asking any more of this obtuse government to ‘perform’ any more; one is just asking for political sense 101 so it can live and let live. After all, now the government is bailing out PSO, but only after delivering the most crippling blow to itself in addition to making a public nuisance of itself. Fasi Zaka said it better than anyone else on social media: ‘After PTI shoots itself in the foot, PMLN take the last litre of petrol and accidentally set themselves on fire.’ Someone else aptly quipped that soon as PTI was done trolling the PMLN, it pe-trolled itself.

Not content with causing grievous harm, it proceeded to add insult to injury with first blaming consumers followed by Petroleum and Finance ministers blaming everyone and anyone but themselves, and calling it a conspiracy against the government. If ever there was a ‘conspiracy’ anyone could hatch against themselves, this has to be it. And the dear Prime Minister remains unwilling to fix responsibility and fire the ministers responsible. The gentleman has suspended four bureaucrats instead.

As for the parliament, my disgust knows no bounds. After cravenly capitulating to military courts knowing full well they are not the solution to curbing terrorism, the parliamentarians came out protesting cartoons – yes cartoons, instead of making a nationwide call to solidarity with the slain APS children and their families against Islamist terrorists. Little do they understand, they are the cartoons. They are the sad caricatures of democrats. They came out to defend Mohammed and Islam, who do not need their hypocritical and absurd defence; they did not come out in solidarity with the people of Pakistan who put them in office and who need them to show political will to fight terrorism. A deep disappointment at home, and a foolish spectacle to the world – cartoons walking around protesting cartoons. Contrast this with the French government which amassed a million and half strong rally when just 18 persons died.

We are truly the chosen people. The one man who calls himself the ‘real’ opposition (but deigns to remain outside the assembly he was elected to) remains fixated on now completely ludicrous allegations of rigging, having his mandate ‘stolen’ and deliberately misreading investigation reports of the audit of ballots in four constituencies requested by him. Instead of governing the province he won in the 2013 general elections, or providing constructive opposition in the assemblies, Mr. Khan has spent the better part of the last one and a half years undermining democracy itself and making Youthias out of the youth of this nation. The entire time the PTI has been in power, its chairman has led its provincial government in disrupting federal government and ‘protesting’ one issue after another. In the early days, his entire party and government were focused on helping save the Taliban and Al Qaeda networks from drone strikes in the tribal regions with their ‘blockade’ of NATO trucks, teaching young people hooliganism and disrespect for law or authority. Thereafter, the party and government moved into Punjab like a travelling circus ‘protesting’ and levelling bizarre charges at all and sundry before settling down in Islamabad atop the container. The ugliest charge, for its obviousness with regard to laying bare Mr. Khan’s connection with the Angels and his attempt at cynically riding their wrath to power, was against Geo TV. From atop the container, this opposition ‘politician’ exhorted his Youthias to not pay taxes or bills, to storm the Pakistan Television Station, the National Assembly and the Prime Minister House; issued bellicose threats and crude, uncouth call-outs to the PM, police chiefs and judges, practically writing the manual on youthiapa. In years to come, his ‘ahadees’ will be compiled by Sahih Tareen, Sahih Mazari and Sahih Qureshi, and cited as justification for abusive, uncouth and illogical behavior and reasoning. No care had he that the country was at war, an existential war. His government was sent intelligence of the impending attack on APS, Peshawar. But the government kept coking, singing and dancing atop the container. And once the children had died, and their parents cried, Mr. Khan could not ‘understand the reason to protest’ after having arrived in a 32 car motorcade at the APS for a photo-op. Next, the intelligent gent called a ‘dharna convention’ where he announced actually governing KPK as the next phase of his ‘movement’. Was that not the job he was supposed to be doing all along, instead of causing the mother of all migraines to this country?

This is the ‘real’ opposition to the incompetent democrats in power. This opposition leader is on record having said that Taliban did not bomb girls’ schools, that it was government propaganda. The gentleman wanted to allow the Taliban to open ‘offices’ in the country. He told us of their peaceful nature, that they did not want to impose Islam or Sharia upon us at gunpoint. I would like to invite Mr. Khan to tell us if it was flowers or words or dawah the Taliban killed the children in APS with. This is supposed to be the alternative to Mr. Sharif’s incompetent government, PPP having been practically wiped out for its own criminal mis-governance.

We are truly the chosen people. Go ahead, PMLN, might as well launch a decisive suicide attack on yourselves and on us, the unfortunate citizens of the country you govern. There’s no one with the brains, sincerity or will, within parliament or without, to stop you.