ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) of Tahirul Qadri has called off its D-Chowk sit-in and his supporters left the venue last week, but PTI chief Imran Khan is resolute to continue the dharna until he realises his objectives.

What are his objectives and how would he achieve them, is being debated at least by his rival political parties.

Both the parties had converged at D-Chowk Islamabad after the long march from Lahore on August 14 with the common objective to get the Sharif brothers (Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif) kicked out of the power corridors.

Both the protesting leaders failed to oust either of the Sharifs despite their unprecedented protest sit-ins and other rallies. PAT pulled out of the chorus citing the start of Muharram, but Imran Khan is relentless.

Why Imran is not packing up and what prompts him to continue his sit-in, have become mindboggling questions. There can be no two opinions that he missed his objective as well as face-saving opportunities on August 30 and even later.

As being put by members of the ruling PML-N: “London Plan of the PTI and PAT fizzled out and both are now engaged in holding their public meetings as a last resort to mobilise masses to prepare them for next elections.”

To some extent this justification given by the ruling party PML-N strikes the mind as both Imran and Qadri are also targeting the leadership of the main opposition party in the National Assembly and the Senate (the PPP).

There are credible reports that Dr Qadri is on the verge of leaving Pakistan for Canada but his PAT would complete its two-month organisational plan to prepare for the elections, including by-elections and the overdue local bodies elections to be held in three provinces – Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. PAT and its allied parties including PML-Q have also decided to take part in the by-elections for National Assembly seats that are likely to be vacated by Imran Khan and his MNAs. The speaker of the National Assembly has been pending the issue to keep the PTI part of the parliamentary process. Unfortunately, this is not going to happen as Imran is no more interested to remain part of the National Assembly.

However, now after learning key political skills he is eyeing a significant stake in the Senate elections due in March 2015 forcing his party to retain its position in the provincial assemblies of KP where PTI is running its government, and in the Punjab Assembly where PTI is the main opposition party. He is quitting the National Assembly seats apparently because he wants to keep himself out of the parliamentary process underway for electoral reforms and because he wants to keep the choice to blame the government and other parliamentary parties in the National Assembly by exploiting the flaws or anomalies, if any, left in these reforms. It may be recalled that Imran and his party was taken on board by the then Opposition Leader in the National Assembly, incumbent Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan, about appointment of Chief Election Commissioner Fakharuddin G Ibrahim who is being blamed for rigging of 2013 polls.

Therefore, he is probably sacrificing a Senate seat from the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) with the sole objective of keeping his carrot as well as the stick to accept or reject at his will the electoral reforms to be done by the parliament. At the same time, he is all set to go for local bodies polls in KP where he and his party feels better placed in the given situation to outmatch rivals largely because of political mileage the PTI has gained for the dharna politics.

Imran wants to keep his pressure through the continued sit-in at the D-Chowk to pave the way for LB polls in KP as well as in the Punjab province where he personally feels his party could drive significant mileage at the grassroots that would help in securing more seats in the next general elections to make his government at the Centre as well as KP and Punjab.