It wasn’t the vindication the opposition expected but the Panama case verdict has given them a very high moral perch – from which they are not likely to descend early. With the high ground established the opposition has well and truly gone on the offensive. While the calls for the Prime Minister’s resignation were ringing from outside press conferences and news channels, the opposition planned to bring the conversation to the Parliament too.
However, calling it a conversation is perhaps going too far. The opposition’s “plan” – concocted outside the assembly hall moments before the session began – was to disrupt any ongoing proceedings and call for the Prime Minister’s resignation in exclusion to all else. Even the reclusive Imran Khan graced the floor of the National Assembly; this was the perfect moment for his abrasive style to shine. As expected however, the proceedings devolved to a shouting match fast in both houses of the assembly and the sessions had to be prorogued by both speakers. It was well the they did, the opposition clearly came in with a confrontational and provocative mood – tearing up the day’s agenda and shouting slogans during speeches.
The government benches will bemoan this attitude by the opposition, but the fact remains that while the Prime Minister is in office they will continue to be disruptive and confrontational. Halting the business of governance is in their favour at the moment; every delay builds towards the pressure the government is facing and pandemonium in the parliament adds to that. At the moment even blatant disruption of parliament will be forgiven by the public.
So far the government has met this pressure with belligerence, with government MNAs saying Nawaz Sharif “will never resign”. If this is their official line then the all MNA and Senators must come prepared for brawls for the next two months, not legislative work.