Prime Minister Raja Ashraf’s briefing with journalists at Governor House Lahore where he shared his thoughts about matters of national importance, mainly the constitutional crisis, was uneventful. In fact it came as no surprise to hear him assert that since the Constitution forbids any action against the president, he would not be writing the letter to the Swiss government. He had a few arguments, one of which was that presidents all over the world enjoy immunity. However it came as a shock to those who had been present at the briefing to read that during the very same briefing, the Prime Minister had announced that he would not “throw a first class President in front of a third class magistrate,” as no such words had been uttered. A contradiction from the state news agency, APP followed shortly thereafter. If the private news agency which issued this false story, thought these words would escape the attention of a room full of journalists, they were clearly in the grips of some terrible miscalculation. Not only was a totally false quote attributed to the Prime Minister, no less, but it was done, it seems to mischievously and deliberatelt encourage an air of confrontation and animosity between the government and the courts. In such a case, those who would wish to light a match near a powder keg and call it entertainment, should hang their heads in shame for calling themselves a “news” agency.

The prevailing civilian dispensation has come in after a long struggle against a military ruler and the face-off that will start off from July 12 appears far from the one which is ideal for supremacy of the Constitution. A constant change of prime ministers or defiance of judiciary for that matter is something the country can ill-afford much less the system, which can easily veer off track when it has no one to show the way forward. In the backdrop looms the shadow of offstage players waiting to rock the boat. The system is already in danger. False alarms and malicious whispers are not exactly likely to help and coming from a usually respectable news source, are most unfortunate.