Both the opposition and the government have refused to back down in the early stages of their impending showdown. The opposition is busy organising and setting schedules for contact campaigns and meetings across the country. The government does not look to be fazed, judging by the regular statements coming in from their camp.

But the opposition has now added the threat of mass resignations from the National Assembly into its arsenal against the ruling party. Whether they will come good on this threat or not is anyone’s guess. In the past, opposition parties –including PTI during the last government—have used this as a tactic. PTI even submitted its resignations but later withdrew them.

Then again, even if this is just a bluff, the government is quite likely a little more worried than it is letting on. En masse resignations would cause problems for the ruling party even if it chooses to conduct by-elections. Conducting these electoral exercises for any number above a dozen seats would be a nightmare, especially if the opposition chooses its moment wisely and does so right before the upcoming Senate elections. The resultant chaos will bring up the usual chorus of rigging, unfair practices and will diminish the government’s own standing in the eyes of the public and the opposition; not to mention that the Senate elections will be severely jeopardised.

Currently both sides are talking up a game that they might not be able to back. But the pressure in this case is more on the opposition, because all the government has to do is wait and see what the allied parties can bring to the table in the months to come. The first test for the opposition relates to the scheduled rallies and contact campaigns. The government has already indicated that it will not interfere provided no laws are broken. If these planned events help the opposition gather steam, the government might retaliate through suppression, or look to find some compromise with the allied parties. If however, these first few meetings are not successful, the resignations might be the last potent weapon that the opposition still possesses.