The meeting between Vice President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Maryam Nawaz and Co-Chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Sunday at the Sharif Jati Umra residence, Lahore is an indication of improved ties between the two parties in the efforts to unite the opposition against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government in the coming days.

In this second meeting in less than a month, Bilawal and Maryam are likely to chalk out a specific strategy to oppose the government’s key decisions, the budget formulation and the IMF bailout plan central among them. How the opposition is going to rally against the government remains to be seen, but all indicators point to some sort of street demonstrations, in a bid to pressure the government and poke holes in their strategy at the helm of affairs.

The arrests of Asif Ali Zardari, Hamza Shehbaz and other opposition leaders are also likely to centre-stage in the protests orchestrated by the opposition. Their claims of political victimisation might just gain some traction among the public, given that not a single member of the ruling party has been charged or investigated in the way that opposition members are currently being treated, even though there are allegations enough in the leadership circles of PTI as well.

PTI’s protests in the PML-N’s previous government have sort of established this as a trend; any party in the opposition will now see the need to rouse support on the streets for their narrative instead of discussing issues in parliamentary sessions. While this has a negative impact on the democratic setup of the country – protests are not wrong but looking to carry out sit-ins when the opposition members have a voice in parliament as well – points to the opposition’s inability to reign in policies by the government on the floor of the houses. This means that worryingly, the parliament gets relegated to a body for procedural meetings, where the government announces its decision, with no real opposition to provide a counter-argument.

It remains to be seen what the fruits of this latest meeting are; will the PML-N and PPP organise joint protests or will they just time their demonstrations in such a way so that the government is constantly under pressure? The next month will be more indicative of the political situation in the country; it can only be hoped that the opposition takes the government to task over legitimate issues with coherent arguments, instead of resorting to the name-calling and excessive use of rhetoric from the top of the container.