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October 1, 2020

The next stage

Editorial

 
October 1, 2020

As many had expected, after the fiery presser by Maryam Nawaz, it was clear that the opposition was moving towards some kind of direct confrontation with the government. This is to come in the form of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, which has been established with the agreement of the major opposition parties and a number of smaller ones. The opposition has announced that Ahsan Iqbal of the PML-N would be the first convener of the PDM and that its first rally will be held in Quetta on October 11. While this is certainly some movement forward, there are some prudent questions being asked by political observers. For example, what happens if one or the other party decides to opt for 'reconciliation' in exchange for relief from the many court cases almost all party leaderships are facing? What happens if – one again – there is a rift among the opposition parties? And is the PDM asking for the removal of the government or will the protests subside once some compromises are made?

For now, the opposition says it stands united and will not back off from protesting against the misgovernance led by the sitting government. Cynics feel that there is a need for some working agreement between the government and the opposition and that it is questionable whether the PDM and a series of street protests can in any way assist in this matter. However, it does seem that the opposition is taking not only the PDM seriously but is also ready to go through the now-usual court cases and references almost all of them are certainly either facing or about to face. Nawaz Sharif too seems to be looming ever more large in the opposition, something neither the government nor the courts are taking lightly.

Whether the move made by the PDM can work is more difficult to assess. So far the political parties, despite holding a majority in the joint parliament, have been unsuccessful in defeating the government's moves. The purpose of the PDM appears to be to place pressure on the government. We are not sure what comes next. Are the opposition parties ready for elections? We can see that with NAB demanding the arrest of further figures from the opposition parties, things are not at all slowing down. For some, this seems to be the only way for the opposition to make itself relevant both to politics and to the people. We had said that recent political happenings are promising a political sizzler of a winter. The show seems to be taking some shape. But what happens between now and October 11 will probably inform just which way the PDM is headed.