The advice of Chaudhry Fawad Hussain to members of the opposition to postpone their public rallies and sit-ins as a matter of the protection of public health is not one that should be taken politically. While opposing voices cannot be shut down, all sides of the political spectrum are responsible for their decisions.

Recently, multiple neighbourhoods in Karachi were placed under mini-smart lockdowns due to rapidly rising cases—approximately well within the hundreds per day. Now, the decision to re-impose similar lockdowns in Islamabad as well highlights how dire the situation can get for Pakistan once again.

Given that we are already struggling with the repercussions of corona preventative policies, it would be unwise to bring the public to the streets for hours-long protests. The opposition has its grievances, but nothing trumps the health of citizens. This year has brought unprecedented challenges, and all activities—plans against the government included—must take that into account above all else.

This is why the opposition must tread carefully. Small meetings instead of large protests should be the order of the day for the months that follow. The government can engage sections of the public, but in smaller settings. It can even organise more frequent meetings if that gets its point across, but the fundamental priority right now should be to avoid the dreaded second wave.

Another outbreak would lead to further loss of lives, and the economic toll after all we have ben through would be catastrophic. Just two months of a spike will take years to recover from. If the opposition is not careful, a similar situation might well be imminent.