The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf announced an end to their boycott of Parliament after more than seven months. Though detractors are criticising the party for taking a U-turn, since when did any other party or leader from Altaf Hussain to Pervez Musharraf set a precedent for not taking one and sticking to promises or mandate? “We have decided to return to the assemblies from Monday, where we will play our role as a formidable opposition,” said PTI Chief Imran Khan. And it must be accepted that they are formidable, because they know how to create a ruckus over an issue, how to generate numbers at a rally and they know how to get the media on their side.

What the PTI seems to be aiming at now is maximum visibility. These are the new parameters of their game and another dharna like situation won’t get them any more points. They have challenged the MQM like no other party has ever had the guts to, another attempt to be maximally visible. The point is to attach the party to high profile issues, from opposing MQM to PM Nawaz Sharif’s bid to get into Yemen.

The party had decided that as long as the judicial commission was not formed to decide on the rigging allegations they would not return to Parliament. However, Imran Khan felt it important, that he be heard on the matter of Yemen. An aide of Imran Khan has said that there still remain dissenting voices and some believed the announcement should have been made after the judicial commission was formed. Senior party leaders had advised Imran Khan to stay away from Parliament for some more time to avoid frontal attacks from other opposition parties. But Imran, being who he is, wants to be centre stage and will continue to create situations where he gets to be front and centre… no matter the attacks. The PTI has enough gumption to face them, whether it is Hamza Ali Abbassi being the most ridiculous Culture Secretary any party has even seen, to upsetting the parents of the children who died in Peshawar.

This is only going to be the first of many U-turns. The party will be making deals and alliances, even with PML-N. It is getting used to politics now and it has the numbers. One can see this as Imran Khan smartening up, or one can see this as Imran Khan going the way of his cronies, Messr’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Skeikh Rasheed and the likes.