LAHORE - The PML-N is quite unmoved by the expansion of the PTI and PAT protest shows as the party leadership is optimistic that the sit-ins would be over soon and the government performance would overshadow everything.

Well informed sources in the party say the party leaders do take up issue of the sit-ins at their meetings, but are not scared and panicky. As such they hardly feel the need to devise a formal strategy to counter the protest marches of PTI and PAT though they are advancing to other cities. The sources claim the PTI protest is gradually running out of steam and, after touching its peak in Lahore and Karachi rallies, the show would lose the public zeal in the times to come. As regards PAT, they say it has announced to become part of the political process by participating in the elections, which means a shift in its original policy of inqilab, so now PML-N seems not taking its dharna show very seriously.

They say the PML-N leadership is also not in a mood to hold the Central Working Committee meeting of the party or to rush to any other move showing a panic, but wants the situation to calm down with the passage of time.

The sources say though the prime minister had spoken about holding counter-rallies and the Punjab chief minister about the ‘tigers under restraint’, the party is so far in no mood to hold public meetings to outshine the rivals. It feels counter-rallies would trigger a race for shows of power and the government would come under extra burden to control the situation which would not be conducive to its efforts to rehabilitate the flood victims and look after the IDPs.

The sources further say the government plans to provide relief to the masses in power tariff and loadshedding, which would further bring down temperature of the protest. They state with an objective to improve the economy and, in turn, lower the public woes, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is also presiding over an investment conference in Germany next month to convince foreign investors to invest in Pakistan.

When contacted, Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid dispelled the impression that the government was upset or worried due to the PTI-PAT protest and said it was their democratic right and the government had accepted it from the day one. He said they would not mind how long they continued their dharna in Islamabad, adding the government had no plan to put hurdles in their way, but was giving them a free hand.

Senator Pervaiz Rashid said the PML-N had well shown its power by winning the last elections. When asked whether the party leadership was going to convene a Central Working Committee meeting on the protest issue, he said it could be called when needed.