ISLAMABAD - Speeches delivered recently by the former president and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and convicted former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif to the All Parties Conference (APC) through video link from London and Karachi have given rise to serious questions. The resounding speeches delivered by them have sparked a discussion among different quarters making their own interpretations and predictions. 

Besides that, their speeches had led to raising two key questions – is the mainstream political opposition seriously seeking to change the government headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan or the APC was convened just out of an effort to seek some desired deals. Yet, the roadmap agreed by the APC and unveiled to the public shows they are serious and want to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to step down by January next year to pave way for fresh elections in the country. So much so the host party to the APC, which also has its government in Sindh province, had agreed to the proposal about en masse resignations from the incumbent assemblies as a last resort to force the Prime Minister for fresh elections. Would the mainstream opposition stay the course to their commitment, or they shatter down on the way to their goal can be seen in their course of actions. 

On the other hand, Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed has repeatedly warned that opposition parties would not be able to stay the course as PPP, the host of that APC, would neither give up on its government in Sindh nor tender resignations from the assemblies for the sake of opposition’s movement for democracy. Else, he also warned that the main leadership of the protesting opposition parties would land in jails. 

According to Sh. Rasheed, the opposition parties do not want to see the majority of the PTI-led alliance in the Senate as a result of the impending elections due to be held in March. Interestingly, parallel to this discussion, the speeches of Nawaz Sharif and the role of PML-N in the protest movement under the banner of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) are also under discussion.  The way speeches of Nawaz Sharif and the role of his daughter Maryam in the PML-N are being treated with loathing criticism by the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan and social media activists of his ruling party PTI suggest about plans to make the main opposition party an ineffective political entity.

Some knowledgeable insiders suspect the arrest of opposition leader in the National Assembly Mian Shabaz Sharif believing that he had foiled a serious threat to the existence of the PML-N by opting to go to jail. There are other wishful thinkers who also believed that the PML-N is on the verge of suffering a series of major political upsets when some of its sitting MPs would soon stand up and rebel against their party leadership to opt to form forward blocs both in the National and Punjab Assemblies. 

On the sidelines of the discussion, some are also dropping hints about the former Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan becoming active again to play a decisive role.