The interaction between Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) students and Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul Haq Kakar was patently disappointing. It was surprising to witness students from a prestigious institution like LUMS posing superficial, rude, and ill-informed questions, abandoning the expected grace and inquisitiveness of scholarly engagement for political showmanship. The students’ grasp on governance, government functionality, and constitutional knowledge was particularly lacking, as trivialities overshadowed substantial discourse. For instance, their preoccupation with the Prime Minister’s late arrival at the event, an unfortunate but trivial matter in the local context, was met with undue attention and criticism.
Moreover, the students’ tendency to self-congratulate with applause after rhetorical questions further diluted the seriousness of the forum. It’s erroneous to dismiss such conduct as mere youthful exuberance or idealism; the questions betrayed a degree of opinionated arrogance and disconnect.
During the discussion, one student’s critique of the response to the May 9 incidents was met with CTPM Kakar’s apt reminder of how similar actions are not tolerated in Western democracies—a point underscored by the repercussions following the Capitol Hill attack in the United States. Another student’s defense of the illegal Afghan economic integration in Quetta and the misinterpretation of a border incident as a sinister plan to kill deportees were notably shocking. Furthermore, a sulky student, who complained about punctuality, also questioned why the Prime Minister was in his office during the Jaranwala riots, seemingly unaware that the Prime Minister isn’t a firefighter or a superhero who can instantly respond to every crisis. And another student wondered why Mr. Kakar chose to come to LUMS despite the other challenges faced by the country, instead of appreciating his effort to engage in a candid dialogue.
CTPM Kakar navigated through the questions with logic and patience, yet such discussions may fall on deaf ears, particularly among PTI supporters who immediately started to use this interaction for propaganda purposes. The political climate in recent years has created a chasm in society, where rationality and respect for law and order are often cast aside for political expediency.
Reflecting on the event, one might question the wisdom behind Mr. Kakar’s decision to engage with the LUMS audience, much like his rather too-frequent media appearances. Ultimately, the exchange at LUMS mirrored the current national sentiment—a populace caught in the fervor of populism, devoid of logic and enamored with impassioned, yet misdirected political rhetoric.