LAHORE - Whether or not the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek are allowed to enter the Red Zone of Islamabad will be clear when the marchers of the two parties reach there. But one thing is obvious: the politics of the country has entered the “red zone” – and may affect the future of various parties.
The PTI and the PAT will become politically irrelevant for long if they came back without getting their demands met. Their allies like PML-Q (of Chaudhry Shujaat Husain), Awami Muslim League (of Sheikh Rashid) and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (of Raja Nasir Abbas) and Sunni Ittehad Council (of Sahibzada Hamid Raza) will also have their fates sealed in such an eventuality. They will not be able to face the people who stood by them on their repeated promises that their struggle is aimed at ameliorating their living standards.
Similarly, in case the rulers give in to the pressure being mounted on them, they would have to face difficult times ahead, as is the case with all parties out of power.
The ultimate outcome of the situation is difficult for anyone to predict because of the many variables involved.
The protesters plan to stay in the federal capital till the acceptance of their demands. The PTI is calling on the prime minister to step down so that fresh elections could be held under the supervision of a non-political setup after a ruthless accountability.
The PAT is for a complete change of the system.
As of today, the PML-N leaders are not willing to let anyone steal their mandate. A federal minister said that the prime minister is not an employee of Shaukat Khanum Hospital that he should resign on Imran Khan’s demand.
Some leaders claim that behind-the-scene efforts are still being made by parties like the Jamaat-i-Islami and the PPP to find a solution to the crisis. However, it is difficult to say anything about the outcome of their efforts.
The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that Supreme Court Bar President Kamran Murtaza has filed a petition praying the apex court to restrain the state functionaries from taking any extra-constitutional steps.
“I have filed the petition after much deliberations to allay apprehensions that democratic setup may be rolled back through unconstitutional means,” he said.
The petition is scheduled to be taken up on Friday (today).
In view of the changing situation, the government changed its policy about the PAT on Thursday.
While the PAT Secretariat and its surroundings remained a no-go area for about a week and the government was determined to not let Dr Tahirul Qadri and his supporters go for their “inqilab march”, the mediatory role played by the Sindh and Punjab governors changed the scene. Containers were removed and police force withdrawn.
Thereafter, thousands of PAT supporters encamped near the PAT Secretariat for the past many days came out to join the march.
Now, all eyes are set at the GHQ. Any side the army is on will emerge victorious.
Official sources say that the army is with the government after which the protesting parties cannot cause any harm, no matter how much effort they make.
The marchers, on the other hand, claim that the entire nation has turned against the rulers because of their failure to solve their problems, and this fact cannot be ignored by the army.
How long can the protesters stay in Islamabad? What if the exhausted protesters ran out of patience? What if the government did not give importance to the protests and allowed the PTI and the PAT to keep sitting as long as they want?
Next few days are expected to be decisive.