It is now pretty clear that whatever momentum Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was able to build in its first round of protests – and it was able to whip up plenty of it – has more or less dissipated and did not suffice to send the government packing. And if you trust Pakistan’s new breed of so-called political analysts, you would believe that a number of cracks and cleavages have now appeared in the opposition alliance. For it is becoming quite common for at least one of the main three big leaders of the movement, Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto or Maulana Fazlur Rehman, to be absent from their gatherings, especially after the Lahore jalsa failed to inspire critics.
Clearly the opposition alliance now needs a new plan. Perhaps it has realised as much as well, which at least begins to explain its decision to contest the Senate poll and by-elections. It is also very interesting that PML-N and PPP have decided to facilitate each other in Punjab and Sindh, based on their respective electoral and constituency strengths. Even if PTI has been able to gulp the worst of the first round with less trouble than the opposition expected, it is sure to experience some headaches, however minor, from such a long-term, mutually beneficial alliance.
You can also be sure that this is the time when the opposition will join their heads once again about the matter of the resignations. It is an open secret that disagreement on the issue, principally on behalf of PPP, has upset the Maulana, who from the looks of things cannot wait any longer to see the end of the sitting government. Yet in his inflexibility may lie the possible ruin of the alliance. Politics is, after all, the art of the possible and the one sure way of ensuring longevity in this arena is the ability to adjust with changing dynamics and circumstances. It must also not be forgotten that no matter how much it is everybody’s right to protest, it must never be done at the cost of the country and the people. Hopefully our senior most politicians will keep such things in mind as they prepare to lock horns in the federal capital.