Is the Prime Minister deliberately trying to be bad at his job? Or does he actually believe that this is an appropriate time to leave the country for a 10-day long vacation in Saudi Arabia? Pakistan is fighting a war. The armed forces are currently engaged in battle with militants holed up in North Waziristan. A mass exodus of people from the tribal agency into Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and elsewhere is proving to be too difficult of a challenge. The atmosphere in the political arena is anything but peaceful. Load shedding is making a strong comeback along with familiar circular debt. And at this critical juncture, the elected leader of the country is off to the kingdom to perform an ‘Umrah’. If only he worried a little more about the welfare of the people, he’d be far less concerned about his fate in the afterlife.

Can the PML-N government tell us exactly how the people will benefit from Nawaz Sharif’s visit? Is there any agenda which can be shared or is it strictly and purely a private trip? Since coming to power a little more than a year back, the government has gained quite a reputation for making unforced errors. Its dictatorial style of governance is simply incompatible with a democratic system. The parliament’s role has been reduced to nothing. There is no meaningful debate on policies or decision-making which we can see taking place in either Houses. The PM has preferred to remain absent throughout the year despite several complaints from political opponents as well as the media. The show is being run by a handful of people. It may have been tolerable if the family and friends were capable, but clearly, they’re not. Still, several posts remain occupied by ad hoc appointees. The dearth of eligible candidates and the government’s disinterest are both to blame on this account. Look at the government’s overall performance and approach towards matters, and it starts to make sense why ordinary citizens tire so quickly and easily of democracy.

Governance issues aside, the PML-N hasn’t been doing so well on the political front either. It has refused to pay heed to the concerns of the opposition, especially PTI, and helped create a hostile political environment. It has neither introduced any reforms to address concerns nor showed any inclination to do so in the near future. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will have to change his ways if he is to successfully lead this nation for another four years.