The opposition has dug in its heels against the government’s move to ban public rallies. PDM is viewing this decision as a means to politically silence its voice, instead of perceiving it as the anti-COVID measure that it is. The government is perfectly justified in wanting the PDM alliance to hold off, considering the second wave looks a lot more ferocious than the first one. And herein lies the problem; the opposition parties have legitimate reason to believe that the government’s approach is selective, based on the many other large gatherings taking place in the country.

In order to mitigate this problem, the government can do a little better by having a uniform policy on public gatherings—they should simply be postponed until we have managed to make some significant headway against the pandemic once more. This is the only way to get the opposition to listen. PTI is the party in power, and onus falls on its administration to ensure that citizen welfare comes above all else.

Having said that, mainstream opposition parties are public representatives as well. They were brought into power to look after the interests of their voter base. Right now, the electorate only faces one major threat above all others; the potential loss of life through an infection that is often deadly. Rallies and demonstrations can wait. There is no point rousing public anger and getting them to participate in a protest against price hikes when their inclusion could spell disaster.

At this moment the PDM even on Sunday in Peshawar should be cancelled. One can only hope that the opposition parties see this too. But as has been evident, the general public and most major political parties not in government are content in flouting all rules and safety measures in place for short-term gratification. It is easy to point fingers at others and use the lack of precautions on display as an excuse, but we must start with ourselves first. It is hoped that PDM can see this as well.