Faisal Vawda, the Federal Minister for Water Resources, might be getting widely lampooned for his actions following the thwarted terrorist attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi, but behind the ridicule lies a very serious breach of protocol by a high-ranking government official. His publicity stunt - which is the only way his actions can be described – was both an impediment for the security operation, and insensitive to the plight of those whose lives were in danger; as such it must be thoroughly condemned, and the errant Minister – who continues to belligerently stand by his actions on social media – must be made to realise the error of his ways.

Politicians have often been described as creatures of publicity; always in search for that elusive “photo opportunity” or juicy “sound bite” that might raise their stock in the eyes of the masses. While we cannot begrudge politicians their methods for achieving fame – be it creative or contrived – since they by definition function in the public sphere, we can certainly question their authenticity and their intentions.

As such Mr Vawda’s actions seem wholly opportunistic, which, given the severity of the incident, merit special condemnation.

The Minister arriving at the scene when the operation is already underway, wearing body armour, carrying his personal handgun and accompanied by his personal security detail serves no purpose whatsoever. Under no circumstances would he be asked to assist in security operations that are the domain of professional law enforcement agencies like the Rangers. His assertions on social media that it is “in his domain to assist as a Federal Minister” are simply untrue. Nowhere in the world are government officials given the blanket license to interfere like this; certainly not in Pakistan.

It is not as if Mr Vawda did much on arrival either; he simply milled about near cameras and declaimed his patriotism to the media.

His claim that “he didn’t run away when his country needed him”, unlike his supposed critics, is also disingenuous. The country certainly did not need him, it had the situation under control; neither was he asked to come, he decided to show up. In fact in situations like this bystanders are actively advised to stay away, so that security forces can have a clear operational area. His self-proclaimed ‘act of bravery’ simply affirms the fact that in Mr Vawda’s mind, simply arriving on scene ought to be praised – which should clue us in to his intentions.

Finally, when two police constables have already lost their lives defending the consulate, Mr Vawda’s publicity oriented actions cheapen and demean their sacrifice. They put their lives on the line, the Federal Minister of Water only posed with a gun.