Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf Chief Imran Khan is all set to shutdown Islamabad on November 2, even after the fact that the Supreme Court is taking up the Panama petitions a day earlier, which is initially what Khan wanted: investigation and legal proceedings into the Panama leaks allegations. And he is not alone anymore either. The Shuhada Foundation has also announced its support for PTI’s call to shut down the city. While they might not possess real numbers (enough to overthrow a government), they do have the power to gather hundreds of supporters (potentially violent ones at that) from the madaris in and around the twin cities, which is yet another cause for concern for the government and the people of Islamabad.

While PTI will make a grand show and by not being in government they do not have to deal with the consequences of a large protest. According to Imran Khan this is the price the PML-N must pay for rigging, endemic corruption and everything else under the sun. While corruption and mismanagement are valid criticisms of the ruling party, Imran Khan has made his own cause petty and sinister by suggesting that even if a ‘third-party intervention’ is to happen due to his protest, it is the fault of Nawaz Sharif. He also stated that the army was being increasingly isolated by Nawaz Sharif, and if we add two and two together, Imran Khan’s intentions start to seem even darker than his quest for power.

Imran Khan is stepping up his anti-government rhetoric, which now includes exploiting the civil-military rift. He admits that a potential vacuum can be created, and considering he has no articulated plan to seize power himself, what does he expect to happen? What has always filled in the void that was left by a deposed democratic government? Is the PTI chief really this naïve?

No matter what Imran Khan says, the public will not forget who was responsible if the establishment does swoop in, provided Imran Khan even manages to get the response he is craving from his supporters and the clerics. These are the same clerics that have used their numbers to try and pressurise the government to fulfil ludicrous demands such as hanging Asiya Bibi.

There is still time for some reconciliation, and pressure on the PML-N to solve this through less disruptive means. And if there can be no reconciliation, at least the PTI should choose their friends more wisely.