The Punjab police have a knack of acquitting their duties gloriously; once again they find themselves scuffling with the blind. To their credit they resisted the urge to baton charge the disabled protestors this time around. Instead, they physically restrained them from entering the Punjab Assembly, exchanging a few blows both ways. The fact that the police had to be lauded for not violently beating disabled individuals shows the general standard by which their activities are judged. Were it not for severe criticism doled out at the government after the ugly incident three months ago, it was highly likely the police would have utilised their favourite tactic once more. At the end of the day, the police is just a tool utilised by the government to implement its policies, and it is their conduct that is the most disturbing.

The scuffle today happened after a prolonged sit-in held by the visually impaired and their representatives, to hold the government accountable to the promises it made to them three months ago. After viciously beating them on December 3rd 2014, Shahbaz Sharif agreed to the demands of the protestors: ensuring their quota in government jobs and regularisation of their service. These are basic and reasonable demands, not controversial, or even administratively difficult to meet. Yet the Punjab government continues to handle things in its own defined method; delay action, hope the protestors tire, and threaten them with violence or institutional punitive measures if they don’t. Even now it has advertised 24 vacancies by terminating the contracts of those who attended the protest.

If the Sharif brothers continue with this shameful display of power, can we begrudge the complainants for taking the streets? It is this kind of behaviour which forced Imran Khan to march on Islamabad, and PAT to take to the streets of Lahore. The Sharif brothers’ policy banks on stonewalling requests; forcing people to take to the streets, where the government can use the police to win. Despite coming to the brink of collapse in Islamabad, the PML-N has still not learned its lesson.