The PML(N) which had earlier rejected the suggestion of bringing a no-confidence move against the PM, has now agreed to discuss it in the PDM. The reason advanced for rejecting the proposal was that the move wasn’t feasible in a situation where the establishment stood firmly behind the PTI government, ready to provide it the required numerical support to remain in power. The recent defeat of the PTI in by elections and its rout in the KP LB polls were interpreted as a sign of the establishment having become neutral. The opposition was further encouraged by the criticism of the mini budget in the National Assembly by some coalition allies. The denial of support in by-elections or the KP LB polls might have come as a bolt from the blue for the PTI, but these in no way posed a threat to the PTI government. There is a perception that the establishment would hesitate to bring down the present set up unless it has mended fences with opposition parties or evolved a dependable alternative. Till then the allies provided to the PTI might protest, but would vote for the government whenever required.
Demoralisation has already set in the PTI’s rank and file. The highly unusual and angry exchange of words between the PM and Defence Minister Pervez Khatak in the PTI’s parliamentary committee meeting is an expression of the state of affairs in the ruling party. Desertions too have started to take place, which shows a decreasing faith in the ability of the top leadership to fulfil the promises made to the people. The economic situation continues to worsen, belying Imran Khan’s claims of bringing down prices soon and improving the livelihood of the common people. Some of the deserters have confirmed that the top leadership is involved in corruption and lacks competence.
In case the mini-budget is passed with the support of the coalition allies this would indicate that any attempt to get a no confidence motion passed is not likely to succeed at present. This leaves the option of street protests to pile pressure on government parliamentarians and allies that leads to the breakup of the alliance and a collapse the govt. The PPP and PDM have issued calls for protests on different dates. This would confuse the common people who look towards the opposition for a united response.