LAHORE - Taking a futuristic look at the political developments the PML-N has started homework to nip the likely threats to its government.

Reliable sources confided that after statement of PTI chief Imran Khan that he will make a very vital announcement and give future line of action of the protest move against the government at Islamabad dharna on November 30, the government is on guard to preclude political assaults from the rival side.

The PTI protest, contrary to the general perception of being diluted without supporting role of the PAT, does not seems to be dying down soon; rather, it appears to be expanding its influence in the time to come. The PTI has now taken the demand of mid-term election to the fore and is giving resignation of the prime minister a second place.

The PTI is also insisting on acceptance of the resignations of its MNAs while Speaker Ayaz Sadiq has been taking time on the excuse of satisfying himself on the point whether PTI members out of choice or under duress had tendered the same. The speaker is also listening to the voices of the JI and the leaders of other parties for not accepting resignations of the PTI MNAs as it may kick start a big political turmoil in the country.

From the analysts point of the view the acceptance of the PTI resignations can be a leap forward for the PTI in the unabated protest show against the government and possibility cannot be ruled out of the government facing more pressure on its demands if this party got support of other parties, particularly which represent the parliament.

As to the other protesting party PAT, it has also announced to launch second phase of its protest movement from November 16 and the government is not closing its eyes to what this party would intend when it has also announced to take part in the next elections. The earlier they take place the better would they serve the PAT purpose. The option of PAT about making efforts for a grand alliance or becoming part of such an alliance to achieve mid-term polls is very much on the table. Given these possible developments, the government is fortifying its defenses. Sources say, as a first step, the PML-N government intends to reach out to other political parties and keep them as much closer as possible but at the same time take care of its own party members so they do not get disgruntled and act the way veteran politician from DG Khan Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khosa is doing at present. Sources say the government has contacted the MQM to take it in its folds through addressing its concerns about Karachi and the development projects in urban Sindh where this party has a big say. On the invitation from the government, a four-member MQM delegation met the prime minister the other day, while PML-N second tier leadership is also in touch with the MQM - which has recently quitted PPP-led Sindh government on the issue of division of Sindh.

President Manmoon Hussain has also held a meeting with the MQM members while Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad is coordinating between the two sides to get them closer to each other, say the sources. They added the government is willing to play a part in the development schemes in Karachi with credit to the MQM and to address its concerns about security in the province.

As to the MQM’s demand of Sindh units, the prime minister wants them to get a resolution passed from the provincial assembly in the first instance to let the federal government mull this demand in the second stage. Given that ruling PPP enjoys majority in the Sindh Assembly, passage of such resolution seems quite far-fetched. Sources say that much progress has been achieved to make the two become partners.

Analysts view that government-MQM nexus can go a long way to take the wind out of the protest sails of the PTI and the PAT. Although PML-N at the Centre and PPP in Sindh are comfortably moving on with the government even without the help and alliance of the MQM yet value of this party is undiminished given the current political situation. If MQM forges alliance with the PTI against the government it can make Imran Khan’s task of mid-term election very easy by quitting the National Assembly where it has 25 seats. Same way it can cause political turmoil in Sindh by quitting the assembly. MQM plays a key role in maintaining peace in Karachi and an aggravated situation there may also shift focus on the PTI demand for mid-term polls.

Political analysts opine that PTI, PAT and their protest partners coupled with the support of MQM can make a big difference either in case of enbloc resignations or a combined protest movement. Certain reports suggest that PML President Ch Shujaat Hussain and AML President Shaikh Rashid Ahmad are in contact with the MQM to woo it to the side of protesting parties. The government conversant of the situation is realigning its position. After making efforts to bring MQM in the folds, it is also approaching the head of Qaumi Wattan Party chief Aftab Ahmad Sherpao to enlarge base of the likeminded. Side by side taking force from outside, the party leadership is thinking to keep the party internally intact and powerful for which, sources say, an important party meeting is expected in the days to come.