The gloves are off. No one is sitting on the fence anymore. The calculations leading to final evaluation of pros and cons of all potentially viable strategies have been carried out. The match is about to kick off.

October is here and the boiling political temperature indicates that it is the semi-final round now, if not final. The opposition benches in the Parliament of Pakistan are determined to challenge the “accountability” exercise and the Treasury benches are not any less ready to show what they have got.

The former disqualified three-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, in his recent address to his party openly picked up a well-thought out fight with the establishment, after he sensed that there would not be any support crawling in to his rescue as he battled his legal cases in the court.

Nawaz is standing on a “do or die” point where he is hell bent on exercising any and every available option to turn his legal battle into a political one. The Government also bowled some carelessly calculated deliveries, which ended up strengthening Nawaz’ cause instead.

PML-N looked a bit uncomfortable with Nawaz’ position though and a few Assembly members have overtly and covertly shown their dissent on it.

Imran Khan also stands on a very tricky spot today, as he has a lot at stake, unlike his contemporaries who do not have much to lose. However, keeping in view Opposition’s agitation around the same time of the year, back in 2019, the Premier has no reason not to take Opposition’s recent protest in the making, with the tiniest grain of salt.

Last year, we saw JUIF Chairman, Fazal-ur-Rehman undermine his power with such a weak show of strength while lacking the much-needed significant support of his allies and a comprehensive strategy in place. I remember making it to his sit-in where I asked his participants as to why they were there and what their demands were. To my surprise, the majority of them did not have any clear agenda at hand, neither had they any clue as to how Prime Minister Imran Khan was breaching the religious code of conduct, as their party head suggested.

To them, the seats that had been won by anyone other than the ruling party PTI, were the legitimate ones, rest were not. This selective suspicion on the legitimacy of the General Election, 2018, made the whole resistance movement look like an immature exercise.

Though, this time around, the echoes oozing out of PMLN quarters reveal that extending resignations from the Parliament could also be on the cards, which will only work if PPP accompanies the move. But since PPP has neither verbally, nor practically regurgitated PMLN’s rigid narrative, the likelihood is low.

PTI Government, on the other hand, seems to be at war with itself. Their own follies and lack of strength to keep a check on inflation rates and arm twisting of the masses by local traders seems to be weighing them down more than anything the Opposition could think of doing.

Challenge for the Government: Lower down the inflation rates and ensure the timely adequate availability of food and other basic household commodities to the masses at affordable rates. Chalk out a comprehensive exporter-friendly Trade Policy to encourage exporters.

Challenge for the Opposition: Build the long-lost credibility and come up with viable solutions to the grave issues ingrained in the system. The Head of the Opposition movement against the Government, Fazal-ur-Rehman needs to understand that “religion card” did not and will not work against Imran Khan, especially after his recent two powerful speeches against Islamophobia and other discriminatory issues faced by billions of Muslims across the globe.

The man who bagged votes in the name of religion (Fazal-ur-Rehman) got outshone by the man who bagged votes with a vow to change the system (Tabdeeli), when it came to comparatively analyze them both in terms of their practical service to the cause of “religion”.

Marching from the decades old political squares to the most recent ones, it looks like the whole hue and cry on roads and inside the Parliament by the Opposition benches majorly reflects Fazal-ur-Rehman’s “cry for adjustment” echoed by those who miss being in power.

Whereas majority of the Cabinet members of the PTI Government seem to have misunderstood their job description to be “narrating” how PMLN & PPP embezzled money in their regimes. Yes! The “free & fair, across the board” accountability has to be there and the Government’s role is to empower the watchdog but that does not suffice the purpose of those who voted them to power.

What is expected of the Government is to show how they are making the lives of the ordinary citizens comfortable and not how bad the previous ones were.

The previous ones got ousted by the Pakistani voters for a reason and hence the whole exercise of turning this legal debate into a political rhetoric royal rumble. How the Government sees through the bluff and does what it is actually supposed to do in terms of serving the masses is what is going to make them carry the day!

Moreover, the Opposition does not have the luxury of playing “Good Cop, Bad Cop” politics anymore, after Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest. Nawaz Sharif & Shahid Khaqan Abbasi bracing News Channels & PMLN workers up for being all “rebellious” shows how they are urging the two to tread on the path they are avoiding to take themselves.

How the Opposition plays their cards will define their next ten years in politics, because despite PTI Government’s follies and intra-Cabinet & Media bloopers, the masses believe that Opposition is now the “Bad Cop” and bowing before law and accountability is the only way they can change this perception.

Pakistan Zindabad!