It seems that political parties in Pakistan will only join hands, when they have a common enemy and what a great common enemy the PML-N has become for all the major parties. Seven opposition parties, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and the PPP, have decided to cooperate in the forthcoming local government elections in Sindh and Punjab and reach seat-sharing arrangements at the district level. The other parties are the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema-e-Pakistan (JUP), Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) and the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC)

These opposition parties have apparently had enough with the dominance of the PML-N and want an immediate change. At a meeting held, all of them expressed resolve to eliminate terrorism, solve farmers’ problems, press for transparent elections and foil attempts to rig the elections. They also supported and praised the army for its operation against terrorists. The opposition parties have agreed to exercise all options, including protests, against the “PML-N’s rigging plans in league with police and other government institutions”.

Demanding that the four provincial election commissioners who had been involved in rigging in the last general elections must resign, was a fairly normal if not necessary reaction by the PTI. But why would they form an alliance with parties it has so boorishly fought with in the past, especially PPP? Does this mean they are setting aside their differences? Not at all. This is all about winning, and PTI desperately needs a win - a real win- not a post-election deseating. We have been waiting for a real win by the PTI since 2013.

When asked about PTI previously criticising the PPP for its ‘alliance’ with the PML-N in “corruption and looting of national wealth and defending each other”, it said that it was now ready to work in cooperation with all parties agreeing to solve problems faced by the people and the country. “Even if the PML-N is willing to remove the provincial election commissioners, PTI will be ready to talk to its leadership” adding that if the ruling party tried to rig the elections it would face strong resistance.

This new found respect for a party, PTI has bashed on every avenue, seems a little too convenient, if not hypocritical, especially to its own supporters. They have called them out on their corruption, nepotism and callousness on almost every platform they could find- during jalsas, TV shows and even Twitter. However, that is the nature of real politik and PTI is just playing the field like all the rest. It also means that the PML-N is the most formidable party in the country and these elections will be the real test of its staying power.