After much ado and premonition, five members of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) have resigned on the instruction of Pir Sialvi – the hard-line spiritual leader from Sargodha. The much anticipated hammer blow has fallen, but it is not as severe as it was made out to be.

The departed are two Members of National Assembly (MNAs) and three Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs). This was announced in a meeting on Sunday in Faisalabad when they demanded resignation of the Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah over some remarks that these groups deem controversial. The organisers of the meeting threatened to hold a sit-in in front of the Chief Minister House till their demands are met.

One thing is certain; the effort to malign PML-N in Punjab and break their strong hold on the province is well and truly underway. Those up against the party want to decrease their influence and break their vote bank by hook or by crook. Especially with an inflammatory issue like this, the problem will not die down easy or soon. This is a continuous battle for the party and fighting it, they have to be extremely intelligent and precise in their decision making till the time of the new general elections.

There are two opposing forces in the polity currently working against the ruling party. One is the group siding with Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT), and this includes mainstream parties like Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI) and even the largely dormant in the last four years - Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The other opposition force is the group championing the cause of the Khatam e Nabuwat. With protests coming from both sides the government is definitely in for a tough competition.

However, if you consider these resignations in light of the troubling times - five resignations of party members do not make much of a difference, if you consider the vote bank of PML-N. The individuals who have resigned were either personally beholden to Pir Salavi or related to him. No mass defection has taken place like it was being warned.

If you look on a national scale, five lawmakers spread among national and provincial assemblies do not affect the electoral maths. The opposition played its hand, and it turned out to be weaker than expected.. PML-N maybe beset by challenges but so far it is holding fast and solid.