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Resignation en masse

The PDM is all set to hold its next rally in Lahore this weekend ignoring all warnings despite the rising number of coronavirus cases. Since rallies and protests seem unlikely to bring down Imran Khan’s government, the opposition has decided to resign en masse from parliament.

A meeting of the PDM deliberated on the way forward particularly on the issue of resignations. JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is confident that this could lead to the collapse of the PTI government but it is not clear whether all opposition parties and lawmakers are on board. As a saving grace, it was decided that resignation will be submitted to party heads by December 31 and an ultimate decision will be taken to submit them in parliament.

The fact that PDM has pushed the decision to the end of the month shows that matter is contentious. Had all parties unanimously agreed then the resignations could have been submitted as early as next week or during the next rally. It is obvious that the PDM is bitterly divided over the issue of resignations and it seems unlikely if the resignations will actually be submitted.

The PDM is only resigning from the National Assembly and not the provincial assemblies. The PPP has refused to leave the Sindh government and PML-N does not seem keen to resign in Punjab. In case of a partial resignation, the main objective of the PDM will not be solved. It is most likely that by-elections will be held and the PTI will gain a two-thirds majority which it has been hoping for.

It must also be remembered that Senate elections are due next March and all parties are gearing up to grab the seats. The PTI is set to gain a majority in the Upper House and opposition parties will make efforts to stop them. Perhaps the ongoing campaign by the PDM is not just to bring down Imran Khan’s government but to stop the PTI from gaining an overwhelming majority in parliament.

The other course of action for the PDM is to hold a decisive long march to Islamabad. This seems an uphill task given the upcoming winters and the worsening COVID-19 situation. It does not seem that the PDM has the perseverance for such an arduous political exercise. This is where Imran Khan’s seem to win and the PDM might be compelled to accede to his call for national dialogue.

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