The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has amplified its confrontational tone by quite a notch. After having party workers protest fiercely in front of accountability courts, PPP leaders are choosing the same tactic to apply nationwide now. In a bold move, PPP co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday urged his party’s supporters to “march towards Islamabad” and oust the government. According to the PPP leader, the accountability cases against him are part of an agenda to revoke the 18th amendment to the Constitution, which was passed by the PPP government in 2010.

For the PPP, which has traditionally championed democracy and adherence to law and order, to make such a statement is disappointing. Zardari did not clarify what the purpose of such a long march would be- the demand of “ousting the government” is outrageous, and needless to say, against all legal realms. Just because the economic initiatives of the government are not desirable, it does not mean that the government can be forced out. If the march is meant to register a protest against a possible pushback of the 18th amendment, then that can be done in much more effective diplomatic mediums than a long march which will disrupt the country. Besides, there has not been any concrete step by the government which would indicate that the 18th amendment is in danger.

Let us hope then that Zardari’s battle cry during his rally was just a bluff made in a wave of enthusiasm, and not an indicator of an actual long-march to be arranged against the government. If this were to happen- that is, if the ruling party of Sindh took it upon themselves to march towards Islamabad and force the capital to a standstill without any proper demands or objective, it would not bode well for anyone. Indeed the economic inactivity that the PPP complains of would worsen in the event of civil disruption.

Alas, it seems that we are still haunted by the politics of the dharna. The 2014 dharna, which was harshly criticised for civil disruption and law and order violation, has paved the way for a political culture of waging protests to fulfil demands which could have been better fulfilled in diplomatic negotiation. We implore PPP not to raise such divisive rhetoric and seek democratic, sensible solutions to counter their rifts with the government.