The Azadi March has got everyone predicting how both parties, the government and the opposition, will negotiate to curb the sea of people out to get the resignation from Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan. There are many chances that the show in Islamabad will not end on Sunday as Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) has clarified that no resignation will be submitted. That will result in the extension of the political procession by Jamiat Ulema-e Islam Fazl (JUI-F) in Islamabad.

Another interesting aspect in the turn of events is the speech made by JUI-F chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who did not stop at his criticism of PM Khan and his policies but also shifted towards criticism of certain institutions within the country, accusing them of meddling in civilian affairs. As a response, we saw the press conference of Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (DG ISPR), asking Maulana Fazlur Rehman to be more precise in his criticism of the institutions he mentions. The rejoinder of the DG ISPR was reinforcing the military’s belief in the supremacy of the constitution and law and its support for a democratically elected government, not any single party. While many found DG ISPR’s presser assuring, Moulana seemed not convinced. Probably, Moulana knows this too well that the present fight that he’s fighting will either resurrect him or will be the last nail in the coffin of his political career.

The government has decided to file a mutiny case against the JUI-F chief for his provocative speech at the Azadi March. Despite the government’s claim to not succumb under pressure, the government’s actions in response to the Azadi March have been more or less defensive which will aggravate the protestors and reduce their claims to anti-state rhetoric. The government was in the position of these protestors not long ago, and they should engage in dialogue to overcome the obstacles facing them. If the resignation is not the solution, the government can find points to negotiate. There is no denying that the economic policies are impacting the average consumer and the revenues of local businesses. The government needs to admit where it lags so that amends can be made instead of adopting a defensive approach and snubbing all critical voices in the state. If the government resorts to the use of force against the protestors, it will go against the essence adopted at the time of the Faizabad protests and against the tenets of democracy.