Things are moving forward for the opposition alliance—at the first meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), held virtually through video link on Saturday, heads of all the constituent parties nominated Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Chief of his own faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-Fazl), as the first president of the PDM.

The nomination itself, and the fact that it was unanimous, strengths the opposition alliance and shows that this time, the opposition parties might just be serious. Previous efforts to unite have often failed precisely when it was time to nominate a leader—the opposition parties could never seem to come to a consensus on a person who could unite all factions. Indeed, the opposition missed its chance for the election of the president of Pakistan, when it could not agree on a sole candidate, and ended up nominating two candidates to lose the election to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI). This has been the case with other important positions, like those of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker as well.

Thus the fact that parties with diverse enough ideologies such as the PPP and the JUI-F could set aside their differences and nominate a leader makes the opposition alliance stronger. However, this is just the start and it should be noted that the office will be given on a rotational basis to leaders of the constituent parties—which could pave the way for some tricky transitions to power.

So far the PDM seems to be making strategic steps, based on bringing out the strengths of all its parties. The rationale behind nominating Fazlur Rehman is that his party has the ability to bring out street power, particularly in KP, which is the government’s stronghold. Yet, while clever on the books, how successful this strategy will be depends on how united the parties are in their joint plans—whether this unity amongst the leaders will translate well with their followers.