The APC, an often-flailing alliance which has had its fair share of failures, finally had its cornerstone moment on Sunday, when it was able to successfully host the main opposition leaders together to throw some well-directed shots at the government. Hosted at Marriott in Islamabad, the meeting broadcast virtual speeches from the former president Asif Ali Zardari, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif speaking from London, and direct addresses from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif, and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto.

Is the APC going to give the opposition more leverage? Well, the speeches certainly were fiery. Most notable was Nawaz Sharif’s, who hit hard against the government, bringing up accurate statistics such as the increase in debt and currency devaluation to make the point that PTI had destroyed the economy, once again doubted the credibility of the election, and accused the PTI of being an undemocratic, incompetent government.

While Nawaz Sharif’s speech is being hailed as one of his most confrontational and defiant ever, when it comes to viewing past precedent, it seems unlikely that speeches, especially those made through video calls from another country, will have much effect. Firstly, this was not Nawaz Sharif at his boldest, as it is being claimed—his oppositional rhetoric in 2006, when the Charter of Democracy was signed, and in 2018, when he was leading the “vote ko izzat do” campaign, was definitely more confrontational and direct. Secondly, Sharif makes these statements from London, with no sure date of when to return; times have shown that the PML-N support has tended to fizzle out when its main leader is in another country, making choice appearances now and then.

In the end, the success of the APC can be measured, not by the impact of its speeches, but by whether it inspires the opposition to join its votes to present a proper challenge to the government. If opposition parties can transfer the APC energy from rhetoric to actual lobbying in the parliament, the APC will have proved to be a step towards success—the past joint efforts of the opposition have shown that this will be unlikely, however.