The government should think twice before dismissing the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) as a spent force because the parties that make up the alliance have just had to rethink some of their positions. It is only natural for new and sometimes contradictory ideas to emerge as the situation changes, and it is a good not a bad thing in a democratic environment for allies to sort out issues through dialogue and mutual give-and-take. If anything recent huddles of the PDM have shown that they are maturing with time and even when they are in the crosshairs of the government as well as the so called establishment, their resort to democratic practices in fact indicates that they are always improving their game.
Taking recent developments lightly or, worse, thinking that they imply some sort of victory for the government is wrong, especially since the main one-point mission of the PDM alliance remains firmly in place and continues to unite all parties. The threat of the march on Islamabad, too, cannot be written off as easily as the government would like. The ruling party could have made life easier for itself and everybody else by showing some flexibility at important stages in this build-up, instead it decided to further increase the temperature, betraying an over-confident mindset; one which firmly believed that the opposition was only bluffing and would not carry out any of its threats.
The problem with such single-minded thinking is that it leaves no space for a Plan-B. And should the opposition really put its muscle where its mouth is and carry out its threats, the government would find itself quickly reacting to fresh developments instead of acting out its own plan. As has often been feared in this space, such confrontation can push both the government and the opposition into a blind alley, forcing outside forces to intervene and restore the status quo. Right now our senior-most politicians are driving the whole nation head first into just such a dark alley. As the government of the day, PTI is expected to take the first steps towards an urgently needed thaw. A sincere offer of dialogue would be a nice start.