After weeks of delaying, PTI Chairman Imran Khan declared on Tuesday that his party would start its march on Islamabad on Friday for the second time this year. After Arshad Sharif, a well-known journalist who had recently been harshly critical of the government, was fatally shot by Kenyan police in highly dubious circumstances, the public’s passions are running high.His murder has stoked new public resentment and mistrust of government agencies. Supporters of the PTI believe Mr. Sharif may have been singled out for his opinions; Mr. Khan supports this claim. However, it remains to be seen whether the PTI can use this fresh rage to fuel a more effective campaign, which it may do this time.
The failure of Mr. Khan to reach a deal with the establishment behind closed doors is also being suggested as a possible reason for the announcement in march. Recall that the PTI’s previous attempt to overthrow the government had failed spectacularly. The Islamabad and Punjab governments had cracked down on the party’s followers, but they had not been able to mobilise enough people to represent a significant danger to the PDM.
This time, things will be different because the PTI’s ally, the PML-Q, is in charge in Punjab, where the party can strengthen its position before heading to the capital. No of how the campaign turns out, neither the government nor the PTI can afford to go beyond what is necessary to achieve their objectives.The last time, the government used subversive and violent methods that severely harmed its reputation as a supporter of democracy. Allowing law enforcement to operate with complete discretion has the opposite effect of reducing tensions. It is necessary to urge nonviolence among the protesters as well.
Imran Khan himself acknowledged that his supporters had brought firearms to the protests in May. He claimed that in order to prevent a situation resembling a civil war, he was compelled to end the protests early. The PTI is entitled to march peacefully, but if it wants to keep such rights, it must be careful to avoid such incidents this time.Last but not least, it is necessary to re-examine the PTI’s objectives for its “long march”. Its action will shake up local markets until the newly released wave of uncertainty begins to subside.
Although the government has made it clear that it has no intention of holding early elections, it is unclear how sending protesters to the capital, regardless of their size, will affect this. Throughout the PTI government’s existence, the PDM had also attempted to exert pressure on it through marches and protests, but it was only able to do so through parliament. The PTI intends to change the playbook, right? If Mr. Khan has a strategy or is merely batting in the dark, only time will tell.
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