A boycott of the assembly by the opposition political party is certainly a risk. A political party announces a boycott to impose pressure on the government so that its grievances can be addressed. However, often times a boycott can be a veiled gift for the government as it can sometimes leave the position of opposition parties worse off than they were before.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s boycott of the Punjab Assembly runs the risk of having the opposite consequences than intended. The party’s provincial assembly members started having contentions when the opposition wanted to speak before the finance minister could get the floor to present the budget but the speaker refused them permission. This resulted in a highly disorderly situation in the Punjab Assembly which ended with the speaker taking notice of restricting six members of the PML-N. This lead to the PML-N announcing a boycott of the budget session, in order to send a message to the PTI that PML-N will not be disrespected.

However, instead of vexing the PTI, this boycott might just be a cause of relief to the party in government, since PML-N boycotting the session allows PTI easy passage to pass whatever budget it wants. It might have been a different case had the entire opposition gathered together and decided to boycott. Since the boycott consists of the absence of a few PML-N members only, it will probably just go in the favour of PTI, which can pass its budget as it pleases.

It is the job of the opposition to maintain quorum and debate out their grievances. If both sides remain on edge about dialogue, either the government will have space to pass any law unopposed or nothing at all will be achieved due to the ruckus. PML-N owes it to democracy to adhere to code of conduct and act as a responsible opposition.