Every year, Sunday Plus provides a digest of the major political events in Pakistani politics . This year’s edition will also summarize some of the most important news stories from the past year. 2014, has been unofficially declared as the year of sit-ins and processions. After a peaceful transition of power from one democratic government to another, nobody expected the preceding year to be smooth but none was ready for numerous dramatic political events in a single year. The fear of terror activities hover over the politicians with several assassination attempts on politicians and high profiles. Moreover, this year had been a nerve wrecking experience for the governing Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N); they did not face any harsh criticism from parties in parliament but a stern resistance from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that kept them on their toes over rigging allegations.

The year started with President Mamnoon Hussain approval of ordinance for controlling the electricity theft stating that if anyone found involved in power theft could face fine ranging Rs 1 million to Rs 7 million or two to seven years imprisonment and that was the only notifying event when the nation saw its president active.

The political temperature started rising with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s tweet about former military dictator General (R) Parvez Musharaf that “I can’t believe this coward ever wore the uniform of our brave and courageous armed forces.” Bilawal Bhutto's also vowed to defeat for militants in Pakistan. The son of slain former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto launched his formal political debut in a massive rally vowing to resist extremism and stop the Islamic State group from gaining a foothold in the country in late September. In an attempt to regain public trust towards his party, PPP chairman visited the flood affected areas in Chiniot via helicopter and travelled in flood water for hours to meet those affected by the devastation.

January 5 brought great criticism to Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Chief Altaf Hussain when he proposed the division of Sindh by forming Sindh 1 for the populace considered as Sindhi by PPP and Sindh 2 for rest of the province where people belonging to other ethnicities may reside. It was the first time when a political leader asked for Sindh’s division out loud. Following this controversial statement, majority of the mainstream politicians came forward in opposition to this proposition. The year was not easy of the MQM chief he was allegedly arrested in London on suspicion of money laundering. The London police confirmed that a 60-year old man had been arrested, later released on charges of money laundering and an audio-video statement was recorded of the arrested man.

In an apparent tussle between the current government and Attorney General Munir A. Malik resigned and informed PM Nawaz Sharif about his decision. Even though he told him that he had to travel abroad for treatment of his ailing wife but there were speculations that he resigned under government’s pressure.

Amid terrorists’ threats against polio vaccination, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government formally launched anti-polio campaign ‘Sehat Ka Insaf’ in the provincial capital.

February, March and April remained crucial months for the former president Pervez Musharraf, as it was for the first time in Pakistan’s history that a military dictator appeared before a civil court. In the preceding month, a court charged him with high treason in relation to the imposition of the emergency rule in 2007. The former president remained lucky as he also escaped an assassination attempt near his home. The bomb was planted on Musharraf's route from an army hospital in Rawalpindi where he was staying since January.

In April, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) announced that it would not extend a ceasefire with the Pakistani Government. A TTP spokesman said the move was due to the government ignoring their demands, but that they remained committed to peace talks. Peace talks with the TTP were a key campaign pledge for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in last year's elections. However, representatives of both sides failed to bring peace to the country and the long stretched negotiations failed to reach any consensus.

An agent with the United States FBI was arrested under anti-terrorism laws in Pakistan for carrying ammunition while trying to board a flight. The US citizen was detained at Karachi airport after security staff found 15 bullets for a 9mm handgun in his luggage ahead of a flight to Islamabad. But like previous similar events, he was not trialed in Pakistani courts and flew back.

This year, the federal government reluctantly took an unpopular step by increasing the general sales tax (GST) without passing of the federal budget in the parliament. The government had levied a 240% GST hike in five major export sectors with immediate effect. The GST rate of textiles, garments, leather, toys, surgical instruments and carpets had risen from 5% to 17%. The decision received a back lash by the opposition parties and people but to government’s point of view the rise was essential to meet IMF requirements.

Another notorious incident that effected 2014 was a midnight siege by Punjab police on Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers in which at least 14 people died and several others received injuries. The indiscriminate gunfire by the police attracted great criticism by the public and demanded Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Shareef to resign. After extensive protests, an FIR was registered against him and law Minister Rana Sanaullah, naming them as the culprits of the police assault. Though in late September, Islamabad Secretariat police registered a case against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and eight others on charges of murder, attempt to murder and terrorism over the alleged killing of three political activists, but no hearing of the case was heard and none brought to justice. However, the wide protests forced Rana Sanaullah to step down from his position.

Amidst concerns that the democracy could be derailed, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) mostly sided with the PML-N government in an effort to preserve the democratic traditions in the country. When it seemed that PPP and PML-N might fall into a coalition to thwart Khan's march on Islamabad, PPP chief and former president Asif Ali Zardari asked Nawaz Sharif to act as "an elected prime minister, not as a 'king'". On the contrary, Sindh’s Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah was surrounded by Thar controversy on which MQM demanded for his resignation.

With the pressure building against his government, the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed the nation to explain rigging allegations against his government and political party. However, it did not have any significant effect, and on August 14th, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) started their sit-in outside the parliament house.

Giving momentum to his motion, PTI Chairman Imran Khan announced civil disobedience movement in Pakistan. He encouraged people to not pay taxes, any electricity or gas bills. The protests were also endorsed by Pervez Musharraf and he stressed the United States must not interfere in Pakistan internal politics. His remarks came at a time when many had been speculating that military was involved in a prevailing political crisis. At the peak of the motion, senior politician and PTI’s president Javed Hashmi got separated from sit-in by calling it unconstitutional. Later that month, the PTI and PAT workers stormed into Pakistan Television (PTV) building in Islamabad resulting in an armed conflict between protesters and police in the red zone of federal capital. However, in mid September, Imran Khan openly displayed his civil disobedience stance by burning his electricity bill during his speech at D-Chowk.

In the wake of the turmoil, Imran Khan dismissed his party president Javed Hashmi and three other MNAs. On September 1st, Javed Hashmi leveled allegations against PTI and its chairman in a press conference outside the Parliament House, where he alleged Imran Khan of being a military’s man and that the matter had been settled between army and him. The statements sparked further tensions in political circles. Javed Hashmi, received great applause, resigned from the National Assembly membership and last time addressed the joint session of parliament. He later challenged PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi to fought election from NA-149 Multan but he was defeated by PTI-backed Malik Amir Dogar.  The allegations leveled by Javed Hashmi were hushed in September after Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Asim Bajwa’s statement in which he extended his support for the supremacy of democracy and the constitution.

In early August political temperature rose to its peak, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of proxy war in Kashmir and called off secretary level bilateral talks following criticism of Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit meeting with Hurriyat leader Shabir Shah. Among other hurdles, controversy behind China’s President Xi Jinping scheduled trip also haunted the government. The president had cancelled his scheduled visit to Pakistan. This decision was taken by the security team of China as they did not give security clearance to their President due the sit-ins in Islamabad.

The major event of October 2014 was when Punjab Government in a relatively bolder step banned the entry of 158 religious leaders from different sects to shun sectarian violence and ensure peace and harmony in Rawalpinid division. Moreover, Central leader and ex-MNA of the BNP Sardar Abdul Rauf Mengal appealed to the Supreme Court and Balochistan High Court to take suo motu notice of the kidnapping of people and dumping of mutilated bodies in Balochistan but as usual the appeal received no significant response.

 Coming back to the politics of demonstrations, Imran Khan threatened to shutdown major cities Peshawar, Karachi, Lahore and eventually whole Pakistan if demand of election audit is not met. Bowing to the pressure, PM Nawaz Sharif took the decision to resume talks with the protesting PTI after his meeting with leader of opposition Syed Khurshid Shah. But only a day after its major show in the federal capital, PTI changed the dates for its countrywide shutdown in a meeting of the party’s lawmakers. Hence, it was only after December 16 Peshawar school attack in when PTI chairman Imran Khan announced an end to his marathon sit-ins and demonstrations.

The attack on Peshawar school turned out to be a game changer, as it was for the first time in this unfortunate year that PTI’s chairman Imran Khan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed a press conference together against the menace of terrorism engulfing Pakistan. They realized that innocent children paid the price of their political wars. All the political parties were seen agreeing on the same page in formulating anti-terrorism action plan against terrorists. Later, political leaders reached a consensus on setting up military courts for speedy trials against terrorists. However, on December 27 at the Bhutto mausoleum to mark the seventh death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto, PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari cautioned against the misuse of military courts against democratic parties, journalists and other civilians.