LAHORE - Though it is difficult to predict midterm polls at this stage, the mood of PTI public moots and announcement by other mainstream political parties to hold similar public meetings after Eidul Azha hint at a possible major shakeup in the political scenario in the near future.

Talking to this correspondent on Thursday, veteran political figures from both the treasury and opposition benches are of the opinion that the ongoing political crisis strongly hints at the possibility of midterm elections.

They observed: midterm elections can be the only option to pull the country out of the existing political turmoil if the government fails to meet the demands of the protesting parties through a negotiated settlement in the near future.

When asked what can compel the government to announce midterm elections, they remarked: “Lack of writ of the government, civil disobedience-like situation and incidents of clashes among the state authorities, protesting parties and the members of the ruling parties could press the ruling party to announce midterm polls.

They observed: “With each passing day the protesting parties would get strength through their public moots and holding of similar public meetings by other political parties would also damage the government and early announcement of midterm polls could prove beneficial for their political future.”  In the existing political situation to avert midterm polls, the government will have to accept the tough conditions of the opposition, including resignation of the premier for the period of poll-rigging probe.  PTI, the major party of the anti-government campaign, has organised impressive show of power in Karachi, Lahore and Mianwali and would hold similar shows in more cities.  The public meetings of PTI were seen by other mainstream parties as preparations for the possible midterm polls and, fearing loss of support in the wake of Imran Khan’s shows, they have also announced to hold similar public meetings.

PPP Chairperson Bilalwal Bhutto Zardari has announced to hold a public meeting in Karachi on October 18 and also planning to visit Punjab and stay for some time in the province before chairing the party’s foundation day or after that.

PAT chief Dr Tahirul Qadri also announced on Thursday to hold public meetings in Faisalabad and Lahore on October 12 and 19, respectively, with another announcement of his party’s taking part in the next elections.

JI, a coalition partner of PTI in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has planned to launch a mass-contact movement after Eidul Azha, which would culminate at a three-day ‘Ijtama-e-Aam’ at Minar-e-Pakistan starting from November 21.

According to veteran political figures, it has become necessity for other mainstream parties to follow the suit of the PTI or they might be left far behind Imran Khan and could face serious political loss in case the ruling party announces to hold midterm elections.

Senior PPP leader Jahangir Badr, when contacted, said, “In the fast changing political scenario arising in the wake of popular public meetings of PTI, holding similar public meetings has become necessary for us to renew our contact with the party’s support base. The ongoing politics of marches and public meetings could lead to the midterm polls if the government fails to reach a negotiated settlement with the protesting parties.”

The JI chief, an important ally of the PTI-led provincial government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and a peacemaker between the government and the protesters, said PTI has the right to put forward demands for the midterm elections and resignation of the prime minister.  Veteran PAT leader Dr Rahique Abbasi, when called, said, “The government which seemingly is not ready for a viable settlement with the protesters is inviting the midterm elections.”  Dr Arif Alvi, PTI senior leader, when reached, said, “As the current government grabbed power through foul play in 2013 polls, it must announce midterm elections or the masses would force it to go for fresh polls.