Plenty has changed since Imran Khan laid out his much hyped and awaited new strategy – plan C – during a public rally in Islamabad on 30th November, but nothing more than the strategy itself. Imran had announced that he would shut down Lahore on December 4th, Faisalabad on December 8th, Karachi on December 12th and the rest of Pakistan on December 16th. It would appear that the poor plan was quite poorly planned. The PTI ‘core committee’ either didn’t know that the Jamat-ud-Dawa is scheduled to hold a show of its own on December 4th in Lahore and December 16th happens to be the date when Pakistan surrendered in East Pakistan or it didn’t know what the party’s Chairman was going to say. In any case, plan C has undergone a swift transition to become plan C 2.0.

This plan, unlike the previous plan, is sensitive to prior booking and national tragedies. PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi attempted improve on the PTI’s blunder and revealed new dates; December 12th for Lahore and December 18th for Pakistan, which really means urban centers in Punjab because the PTI cannot shut down Sindh and Balochistan, and will not shut down Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Mr Qureshi’s efforts however go beyond the scope of revising schedules, and reach into the philosophical realm where seemingly definitive, literal terms are incised to create various interpretations which may serve to change their meaning altogether. Shutting down doesn’t mean shutting down anymore. Mr Qureshi clarified that Mr Khan never said that the party would ensure the closure of shops or any such thing. The objective is just to protest on “main arteries”, which may or may not lead to blockage. So, the good news is that shops will remain open, and the PTI will only try its best that no one can reach or enter them. Anything short of that would mean that plan C is just a new name for the already failed plan B. The party should engage in some healthy introspection if it is not deliberating doing comedy.

On the other hand, it is once again the PPP which has had to bring the PML-N government back to its senses. The government believes that another’s weakness must mean it's gaining strength, and doesn’t waste any time before taking on its usual arrogant, immature form when it feels immediate threat has been averted. Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah met Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and urged him to revise his no-more-talks-with-PTI stance, which the PM agreed to and has now directed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to commence dialogue. The government would do well to focus its sincere efforts on reaching a settlement with the PTI if it wishes to govern successfully. Otherwise, its five years will be marred by political turmoil, and it will have actually lost by the end of it all.