In scenes that look a lot like what is happening in Islamabad, thousands of Shia protesters have gathered in Sana’a in Yemen to demand resignations. Houthi protesters are demanding that the president dissolves what they describe as a corrupt and ineffective government in favour of a more representative body. The Houthi rebels are seeking a single region in the north within the federal government, and a greater share of power.

PTI and PAT need a reality check. They need to count their blessings and come to some form of an agreement to end their protests. Time is of the essence. Protesters in Yemen are being called rebels. No one has yet called our protesters rebels, even with requests by Imran Khan for civil disobedience (which amounts to a political party chairman advocating breaking the law)- that too in a country already wracked with lawlessness and vigilantism. Furthermore, we must be wary that this not turn into a sectarian squabble. There are many dozens of Islamic organisations and political parties with their own demands. Just last week, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (formerly Sipah-e-Sahaba) Chief Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi led a rally in Islamabad and alleged that PAT’s protest was part of an Iranian conspiracy. We cannot become a proxy war for Iran and Saudi Arabia and Tahir ul Qadri has to take note of this and end his protest peacefully.

It will be only so long till the international media and international political interests start forcefully connecting the dots. Only so long before Imran Khan and Qadri are seen as pawns in a grand conspiracy funded by Iran, the US, the military, the establishment and whatever other demons and dominators Pakistans’s fear. The same questions are being asked of the Shia Houthi protesters in Yemen as are being asked of the Azadi marches; that do their demands undermine a fragile stability at a sensitive moment in Yemen’s democratic transition and history of terrorism? And if this is the right time and place for such demands from a system already struggling to survive?