While the rest of the political parties are decreasing the clamour following Panama, in steps the young PPP scion, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari with his four demands, threatening a long march come December if all four are not met. December is an eventful month for PPP for reasons other than this as well, the President of the party, Asif Zardari is making his much-anticipated return, though the timing coinciding with a change at the head of the institution he chagrined before his departure has been deemed a fortunate coincidence.

As far as the individual demands are concerned, they are not unreasonable, but the problem arises when one tries to address or even identify the principle behind them. For instance, asking for PPP’s Panama Bill to be passed when the Supreme Court has already start investigating the case is redundant. PPP has a responsibility to tell the people what their law covers that the SC is missing out, and if indeed a new legal amendment is needed to determine whether those named in the Panama scandal were involved in any wrongdoing. As a matter of fact, the parliament was tasked with formulating the Terms of Reference (ToRs) for the case, and could not even come to an agreement on that, let alone investigating the mammoth case on its own.

Asking for a designated Foreign Minister is sensible, but why now, and what does this have to do with the Panama case? Why is December the arbitrary deadline? The third demand, of implementation of all multiparty decisions on the CPEC issue also seems rational – but there is no proof that this isn’t already happening, and once again, it has nothing to do with the other demands. The last demand, the formation of a parliamentary committee on national security, is irrelevant. While there is more that can be done by the government on the national security front, how would forming another parliamentary committee lead to greater protection of national interests?

It seems that PPP has picked four issues at random, that have no connection to one another, only because the government has been called out on all in the past. This threat of going the protest route if the government does not agree to the demands reeks of political opportunism. Reports of the government considering agreement on all four implies that the ruling party still sees hope in PPP, as a buffer against the politics of PTI.

For PPP, however, maybe setting its own house in order should be a priority. Before revitalising the party in Punjab, perhaps it should look to Sindh and attempt to right its own wrongs before questioning others.