Information Minister Pervez Rasheed’s press conference against the PTI and the latter’s rather unsatisfactory rebuttals have only added to the political temperature. While Pervez presented video evidence to make a case against Imran’s peace-loving credentials, the PTI chief replied by accusing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of spending almost Rs. 3bn on the Intelligence Bureau to counter anti-government demonstrations. While Imran didn’t provide any evidence to back his allegation, as always, the general perception is that Nawaz is in fact misusing the IB for political matters. But, that is not the real issue here. At least, not in the greater political scheme of things. All this back and forth, allegations and counter-allegations, have to do with what many believe is going to be a critical day; 30th November.

The PML-N government is attempting to put pressure on the PTI, forcing it to put forward its plan for the fateful day. Both Imran and Sheikh Rasheed have made remarks that have the government concerned and convinced about the possibility of violence when the PTI once again descends upon Islamabad. The PTI is not doing much to remove the government’s suspicions. The party, through its recent conduct, has clearly demonstrated the ease with which it can go back on its words. Previously, Imran had promised the government that PTI workers would not enter the Red Zone. What followed will not be forgotten any time soon. The government will make sure of it. It realises that the PTI committed a blunder, and it plans to exploit that as much as possible.

In all likelihood, the PTI will hold a huge rally in Islamabad on the set date. The government cannot stop it from doing that. If it tries, there will be violence and the blame will fall on the PML-N. If it allows the PTI to go through with its plan, there might still be violence. Its best chance lies in preempting the PTI’s moves, by voicing concerns, constantly forcing the PTI to make promises that there will be no bloodshed this time around. If the party still goes on to do what it did last time, it is more likely to be considered responsible. Meanwhile, while the PTI and the PML-N government try to put the onus on each other, the rest of the Parliament continues to back the government. Even though the government hasn’t been able to show much on the performance front, it has still managed to sustain support from other parties. On the other hand, the PTI remains isolated. Qadri remains gone. Everyone fears that something is about to happen. Now all that matters is who takes the blame for it.