What an unheard of sight; a federal minister laying a shoe on the table on live tv, brandishing it in the face of his opposition colleagues. Valued for being loud and brash, the Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda has been no stranger to political stunts, but this one maybe his most memorable yet – and one that will embarrass the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) the most.

We must remember that this is the same minister who showed up at the Chinese Embassy while an attack was ongoing, in a bulletproof vest and a pistol like a Hollywood action hero. This is the same minister who took a Pakistani flag, some cameramen, and posed over the wreckage of the downed Indian jet after the skirmishes between the two nations last year – without having one ounce to do with actual combat or combat related decision-making. The minister has been criticized before for ignoring his ministry and focusing on flashy photo-ops; but now his theatrics don’t simply damage his own dignity in the eyes of the nation, they damage the government too.

It is without a doubt that Mr Vawda’s stunt has bought the government in disrepute. A federal minister claiming that the opposition parties have betrayed their ‘principles’ in exchange for legal relief is an explosive statement. The visceral image of him holding the boot up mockingly does not help either. The minister needs to be reprimanded and kept in closer check in the future; Imran Khan’s cabinet is already stocked with hot-headed public relations liabilities.

What makes this episode even more infuriating is that the underlying point was valid – the stunt was not needed at all. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PMLN) have been drumming up their “anti-establishment” credentials since the PTI came into power, yet when they were presented with a real opportunity to exercise reform and redefine relations, they backed away and eagerly agreed to every government proposal.

Imran Khan has been criticized by the opposition for taking “U-turns” on many announced policies - now the opposition must face criticism for their blatant U-turn as well. They perhaps deserve even more criticism, seeing how they went against their core party principles despite being so vociferous about them in the months leading up to the legislation.

Yet this valid criticism of the opposition has been overshadowed by one cheap stunt by a minister with proclivity for such theatrics. PTI must reflect on this.