- Realism versus adventurism
The PML-N and PPP are mainstream parties that have ruled the country in the past and are still serious contenders for power. They have therefore to decide the future course of action after sufficient deliberation. There is little possibility of the religious political parties that have been piggy backing the two mainstream parties in the past to rule the country on their own. They can therefore take irresponsible stands that no party hoping to rule the country can afford to.
The JUI-F leadership is unhappy over losing KP to the PTI despite playing the religious card against its opponents. It was frustrated when FATA, which it considered its fief, was amalgamated with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa despite its opposition and party chief Fazl-ur-Rehman lost elections. With the country mired in an all-encompassing economic crisis, JUI-F thinks it is time to strike hard to overthrow the government. The party wants to repeat Imran Khan’s 2014 performance by staging a Dharna in Islamabad hoping that this time it would send the government home. Despite being the worst sufferers under the PTI, the PML-N and PPP along with a number of like-minded parties want some clarity first over how to defuse the crisis. For this they have to come up with a viable alternative to PTI’s confused policy. While they might agree to protest against the government’s policies they are unwilling to go for an agitation
This explains why both the mainstream parties downplayed the Iftar dinner thrown by Bilawal Bhutto as “merely a get-together.” Former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi made it clear that while it was easy to overthrow the PTI government, there was first a need to know how to resolve the unfolding crisis. Maryam Nawaz wanted other parties to be approached to sign the Charter of Democracy (CoD). The PML-N and PPP need time for brainstorming over the issue while awaiting the announcement of the budget next month which is likely to further add to the government’s problems.
The responsible section of the opposition will expose government policies inside the NA and might even address public meetings to show solidarity with the suffering masses while it would avoid any adventurist activity. They know the time is on their side.