Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech has indicated that the government is euphoric after the passing of the federal budget while the opposition is neither as effective nor as united as it claims to be. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif’s demand for mid-term polls in a conversation with reporters on Saturday as a follow-up to the defeat comes off as the party clutching at straws in a bid to mount pressure on the government. The ruling party is in a position of strength and just got its first major win in parliament, why would it cave to this demand when the current state of things is in their favour?

The PML-N needs to get its own house in order first anyway as the reports of 15 PML-N Punjab MPAs meeting the Prime Minister must be disquieting for leadership cadres within the opposition party. Held on an unknown pretext, this meeting is leading to whispers that there might be defections soon, which would further weaken PML-N’s one vice-like grip on Punjab. Allowing for mid-term polls might see to further exits when others see the tide turning, beyond just the 15 meeting the Prime Minister.

The country cannot afford mid-term elections right now, both in terms of the monetary cost and otherwise. The IMF funds have not been released yet, the government just passed the budget and a lot of work needs to be done for the ruling party to see through the fiscal decisions they have made for the economic future of the country. Prioritising election campaigns when the country is steadily worsening according to indicators such as currency value and foreign exchange reserves would be highly detrimental.

The opposition is well within its right to protest, but so far all we have witnessed is a lot of hot air, without any significant action to back it. The initial planned seemed to be street demonstrations post-Eid-ul-Fitr but there seems to be no action on that front either. If and when they do take to the streets, it is hoped that the opposition does not make the call for mid-term elections their complete focus. Making demands that might strengthen the government instead of the opposition and cost the country immensely, as a result, will only serve PTI; everyone else, including the people, will lose. One can only hope better sense prevails.