PTI is dragging every political party into its mess
The entry of the PML-Q leadership as a bridge between PTI and PAT has worried Nawaz Sharif as the Choudharys have a reputation for political maneouvring. The PML-N wants the PTI to cancel the march and if that is not possible, it would try to stop PTI, PAT and PML-Q from joining forces on August 14. Sharif does not want the march to be followed by a prolonged sit-in which could lead to unforeseen consequences. He is willing to resolve the outstanding issues by talking to Khan directly.
The Khan has raised the stakes and cannot afford to call off the march without any solid concessions from the PML-N. It is presumed that he might insist on mid-term polls. In case the response is below his expectations, he will go for a march. The PTI is already making arrangements to collect maximum participants. Imran Khan is keen to make it a historic show of force.
Tahirul Qadri, who is already under stress on account of losing about a dozen party activists in police firing, is now under scrutiny by FIA. He badly needs allies. It doesn’t however suit a self-styled Sheikh-ul-Islam to play a second fiddle to Imran Khan. The march being the brainchild of Imran Khan, he too is unwilling to give Qadri the lead. Meetings being held between the two parties revolve around this central point. The PML-N fears that the Choudharys might help cut the Gordian knot. The Choudharys who fared badly in the elections want to come in from the cold. This they can do by carving out a respectable position for themselves by bringing together and balancing the PTI and PAT.
While moves and countermoves take place, the PML-N and PTI need to reach a compromise. The PTI has a right to hold the protest march. The government and Imran Khan have to realise that a continuation of the standoff could lead to both losing whatever they have gained.