- Wouldn’t it be better to pause a while to rethink strategy?
The 11 party alliance has already held five rallies with the sixth and last having been scheduled for Lahore on the 13th of this month. The PDM’s two-point agenda includes ousting the selected PM through a mass movement and an end to the establishment’s role in politics. The PDM has been successful in bringing out large crowds out despite the administration’s use of force to foil its rallies. The success has belied Prime Minister Imran Khan’s claim that people would not heed the PDM’s call. The opposition has built up a momentum over time, bringing the government under severe pressure. The alliance has also been successful in maintaining unity in its ranks.
The PDM will soon have to decide what measures it is going to take after the Lahore rally. With winter having arrived and people continuing to maintain an attitude of carelessness about SOPs, there is a worrisome uptick in corona cases. While considering the next move, the PDM has to ensure that it is not seen to be responsible for the spread of the pandemic. Thus the idea of a sit-in inside Islamabad must be rejected out of hand. The alliance has kept the option of tendering resignations from the assemblies high on its list of the next measures. Those supporting the move maintain that after the resignations, the assemblies would become defunct and lose their legitimacy locally as well as abroad, which will create a crisis-like situation in the country, forcing the government to resign. The PDM should however desist from any move that creates divisions in its ranks. It should instead maintain its unity and preserve its energies to fight another day
The government and the establishment should avoid forcing the PDM into desperation. Keen to preserve the democratic gains made after 2008, the two mainstream opposition parties continued to avoid taking the battle to the streets until they found that there was no end to the shrinking of democratic space under the hybrid rule introduced after the 2018 elections. The demand that every institution should work in accordance with the Constitution is by no means unreasonable. Unless the issue is resolved unrest will erupt again and again which is bad for the country. It is time the need for dialogue is realised.