The opposition’s cluster claims to have worked out a joint anti-government strategy. In this regard, a meeting hosted by PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif in his chamber in the Parliament House was attended by opposition bigwigs, including Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto. Interestingly, representatives of the BNP-M, a member of the ruling coalition, were also in attendance. The first time opposition made a similar attempt was when Imran Khan had become Prime Minister in August last year and PTI had taken over the reins of power with the help of its allies. Maulana Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F, who is out of parliament for the first time in decades, acted as a go-between with the PML-N and the PPP, but the two main opposition parties finally fell out, having failed to agree on joint candidates for the offices of Prime Minister and President, respectively. Hence, a potential grand alliance of no less than 11 opposition parties turned out to be a non-starter. While there is a big question mark on whether an anti-government cluster of opposition parties can really translate into a grand opposition alliance, the prospect of something of an apprehension for the government has at least arisen. The opposition has a challenging strength in the National Assembly, Senate and also provincial assemblies but it was unable to play an effective role due to internal inconsistencies and flaws. The ruling PTI would have faced daunting challenges during elections of speaker, deputy speaker, leader of the house and chairman senate if there was unity in the ranks of the opposition at that time. During the last five months too, the opposition especially two major parties PML-N and PPP followed their own track on numerous vital occasions but the rash approach and strategies of PTI have pushed them closer to each other and now there is a likelihood of a strong opposition. The opposition has its own problems that might face hurdles in presenting a fully united stand on all issues but still it would be able to pose greater problems for the Government even if it opts to go for united stance on a case to case basis. The Prime Minister has done well by reportedly asking PTI and Government spokesmen to adopt a soft attitude towards opposition and media. This is imperative in the backdrop of bellicose posture adopted by some ministers and party leaders that should be the trademark of the opposition and not the treasury. Soon after the announcement of the opposition alliance a gentle Nadeem Afzal Chan was appointed PM’s spokesperson. The PTI hawks have taken the hysteria to that extent that toning it down may not just be enough to repair the perceived damage done to the coalition partners.
The Prime Minister has done well by reportedly asking PTI and Government spokesmen to adopt a soft attitude towards opposition and media.