In politics, it is not unusual for the leaders of political parties to take a swipe at each other with regards to their stand on national issues. Going beyond that and hurling concocted and false allegations against each other and attempts at character assassination are regarded as foul play.

Going by that barometer, to judge the conduct of a politician in a democratic polity, lamentably, the Prime Minister is guilty of what constitutes foul-play in politics, bereft of morality and respect for law.

The ruling party’s entire politics is based on lies and character assassination of opponents and hurling unsubstantiated allegations against them. One example is the claim of rigging in the 2013 elections, particularly the much-hyped 35 punctures.

The claim of rigging was nullified by the judicial commission formed to probe his allegations and in the end, it was admitted that it was only political talk.

The memories of the Prime Minister standing on the container, calling for civil disobedience and asking people not to pay government taxes, making signs of victory while his supporters, along with the followers of a cleric from Canada ransacked PTV and hurled stones at the building of a media house are still fresh in the minds of people.

In the wake of the filing of the no-confidence motion against him, instead of focusing on dealing with the challenge in a way laid down in the constitution, he chose to hold public rallies in which he threw all norms of decency to the wind and used all types of insulting epithets against his opponents which has rightly come under severe criticism in the media and in the intellectual circles. What he has been saying is unbecoming of the chief executive of the country.

It is also interesting to note that the Prime Minister seems so incensed by the no-trust move against him and the revolt of his own members, that he has failed to notice the contradictions in his own rhetoric. While accusing the PTI members of having sold their souls and rejecting the notion of responding to one’s conscience by abandoning the party loyalty in public rallies and heaping severe scorn on them, he took a complete somersault on this contention in his Amr Bilmaroof gathering.

He expressed the hope that not only the dissenting MNAs would return to the party fold but God willing, the conscience of PPP and PMLN members would also be awakened. He was asking the opposition members to act according to their conscience and side with him, throwing away loyalty to the party. Is this not a clear contradiction and negation of his own narrative?

The Prime Minister is terribly wrong in projecting his duel with the opposition as a struggle between virtue and evil. It is power politics, in which conscience and righteousness have no place.

Both he and the opposition fail to pass the criteria of having acted according to their conscience. In light of the foregoing explanation of acting according to one’s conscience, I am afraid neither Prime Minister Imran Khan nor the opposition leaders can honestly claim that they have been and are acting according to their conscience.

The ongoing wheeling and dealing reinforces their credentials as men without conscience. Ultimately, whoever emerges triumphant in this battle for material gains, protection of vested interests and maintaining hold on political power, the poor masses will continue to suffer the consequence of the shenanigans of politicians.