The Al-Aziza Steel Mills verdict on Monday, has set the tone for the political environment of the country - accountability and corruption is going to be taken extremely seriously, with the harshest scrutiny to be applied, PML-N is headed for further trouble with two convictions against its leader, and several more for other members, and PPP is likely to suffer the same fate, with an extremely damning JIT report against Asif Zardari.

The verdict seemed to be a boiling point for both the parties, who had so far not made any real effort to pushback. The opposition in the Senate on Monday staged a walkout from the house, protesting against what it called a lopsided accountability process. PML-N leaders threatened to stage strong protests both in and out of parliament. PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokar warned that if any effort was made to target their chairman, workers would come out on the roads.

Does this mean we are about to see an organised conflict against the government soon? The warnings that PPP and PML-N have made may seem ominous but inspire doubts on whether the parties really do have the street power to constitute a threat. PML-N sowed the seeds of doubt of its popularity when it failed to organise a proper protest when Nawaz Sharif arrived from London to be jailed, and further damaged its image with its inactivity as Shahbaz Sharif was taken into custody. As for PPP, it cannot be denied that the party inspires fierce loyalty from its supporters- yet its Chairperson Zardari has proved to be unpopular among its loyalists. It is doubtful whether PPP workers will make any real effort for Zardari, as they seem much more inclined towards the party’s heir, Bilawal. Anyhow, any outrage caused by PPP will mostly be limited to Sindh - the province governed by PPP itself- which might make the protest counter-intuitive.

The verdict has paved the way for conflict- but the scope of the conflict currently seems weak. The legal process is a long cumbersome one- there are still arguments to be heard, appeals to be had and bails to be received. It gives the parties a lot of time to get their records of properties, assets and income together to show to the Court to get an acquittal. Unless the opposition can ensure that they can work together for meaningful retaliation, it would be advisable for them to opt for the legal route, rather than fight a battle they are doomed to lose.