The marathon meeting of the PDM, the opposition alliance of 11 parties, which took place on Thursday ended without reaching major decisions that were rather eagerly awaited by observers and the people. In the first place, the PDM did not make any decision on resignations from assemblies and nor did it say how precisely it intended to topple the sitting government of Imran Khan and the PTI. The PDM has, however, announced that it will embark on a long march from March 26, after the Senate elections. It has also been decided that the PDM parties will support each other’s candidates in the Senate elections, and oppose any amendment in the Senate voting system.
The point here is: so what precisely has the PDM achieved? We could very easily say nothing at all. The long march after the Senate elections, as Maulana Fazlur Rahman announced, will begin from various parts of the country and convene in Islamabad. But he was not able to give any details as to how long it would last or what its tactics would be. The PML-N has said that this matter would be decided at a later point and that planning for the long march is taking place which is the main reason for it being delayed. The PPP again put forward the idea of a no confidence move against Imran Khan, although there seems to be no definite strategy and definite thinking in place, at least in public. If there is some strategy we do not know about, this is a different matter, but certainly the PML-N is not backing the no confidence move idea too strongly and has already said it would be futile for its own members to resign from assembly seats if the PPP does not do the same. It is quite clear the PPP has no intention of doing that, given this would mean a loss of its assembly in Sindh and no other positive gains.
So, has the PDM fizzled out? Has it failed? Has the Imran Khan government won the battle? Certainly at the present, the PDM is looking as a weakened and somewhat irrelevant political force. It backed away from its earlier decision of a march at the end of January. It did not resign from the assemblies, and it has made no other significant gains in terms of overpowering the government and proving its own strength. Maulana Fazlur Rahman and PML-N leaders including Mian Nawaz Sharif, who spoke by video link at the meeting on Thursday, have insisted that they are standing steadfast and continuing their movement. But there is no sign that this movement can in any way succeed. And if there is something more than appears in the visible picture, this is something that will be revealed only in the coming weeks. For now, we can only say the PDM appears to have lost the drive which took it forward and led to explosive speeches being delivered. These speeches have been toned down and so it seems has the PDM.