Everyone knew it was only a matter of time. But most thought that Imran Khan might have learnt something from 2014, and would be patient this time. But lo and behold, August is upon us once more, and the PTI Chief is gearing up his party for another protest/rally escapade starting on August 7 in Peshawar. Not wanting to be left behind, Tahir-ul-Qadri and his Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) have announced a countrywide protest campaign starting on August 6 with a protest for a few hours, which would later be extended to the rest of the country if the government does not give in to PAT’s demand of revenge for the Model Town tragedy.

We have heard all of this before, on countless occasions. But then again, no one can regurgitate material from old speeches quite like Imran Khan. His penchant for repeating himself has been on display once more for the past few months, ever since the news of Panama leaks first came out. Each rally in a different city gets the exact same speech, and it is indeed a wonder that party workers can still stomach this without realising that Imran Khan is saying nothing more than to uproot the current government and install him in place, with the promise of ending corruption. However, with the lack of any practical solution in mind, the PTI chief is essentially saying nothing more than, “Trust me, I can fix it”.

One would think that PTI’s leaders using each of the many ample opportunities of airtime for highlighting the issue of corruption would be enough to achieve the leaderships stated goal of, “making the people aware of just how involved in corruption our elites are, and who needs to be held accountable”. The party has highlighted a need for the protests, but in no way does it tell us why the protests themselves are the only way this stated need will be catered to. It keeps saying that the government has left it bereft of any other options, but in the same breath also states that the party is looking to take the PM to the Supreme Court and has filed a petition against him in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Negotiations over the judicial commission are still in progress as well, so why must Imran Khan plough on heedlessly with an obtuse decision that has failed miserably in the past as well?

The Azadi March’s failure should be fresh on the minds of both Tahir-ul-Qadri and Imran Khan, but we see no indication of any lessons learnt from that episode. The first is out for revenge and the other keeps trying to increase his party’s popular support at the expense of the ruling party, even though time and again this strategy has proven to be ineffective. The government can weather the onslaught of both, as it did in 2014.