The line between competition and hostility is certainly a hazy one in politics; criticism of any party’s policies is rarely unaccompanied by personal attacks on the integrity and motives of the proposer. However, despite politicians often confusing insults with criticism of policy, one can often tell when an attack is merited and when it is simply hostility for the sake of hostility.

The sitting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government has often been advised to seek a path of conciliation, or at least avoid active confrontation, with the opposition – after all there is no need to do so now they are in power. Yet, the party seems adamant to seek out trouble where there is none.

The reported intention of the federal government to amend the name of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) – and the credence given to this idea by many PTI members and government officials – is one such unnecessary battle. The criticism it is receiving from across the board is not only to be expected, but in many cases, is justified.

There is nothing to be gained in changing the name – absolutely nothing. There will be no change in how the programme works nor does effect the perception of the people receiving aid from it. Until this issue was raised by the PTI the name of this government scheme was a completely non-controversial choice. The “intent” to change it is therefore simply born out of a desire to oppose the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), not to bring about any meaningful change.

Moreover, that fact that Beanzir Bhutto was an internationally renowned personality and a well-respected former Prime Minister makes this decision seem all the more spiteful. The government should be setting higher standards of behaviour for itself, and the fact that even party members have criticised this move shows that being in constant ‘confrontation mode’ is not the right approach.