In the Punjabi language there is a saying which loosely translates to “Always leave a way out for the cat”, the lesson being that if the cat is cornered and can’t see a way out, you are bound to get scratched. Maybe the government could learn something from this, with Imran hell-bent on painting himself in a corner; the government might have to create a way out for him.

The ever obstinate Imran Khan has shut the door on the only positive development to have come out of the two dharnas. By suspending all negotiations till Nawaz resigns; the cricketer has consigned the political situation back to a never-ending game of threats, deadlines and shows of force. Once again, the fate of the democracy is embroiled in uncertainty. However in the days leading up to this, the negotiations seemed to at least envision the right track; the government acquiesced to PTI’s demands quite willingly; electoral reforms, a probe into rigging, an independent commission, were all agreed to. Seeing as this was allegedly the prime reason behind the whole agitation, one would assume that a wise man would have taken this, claimed victory and gone home. Yet Imran Khan is not that man, the tone, tenor and language he used to drum up support for the march and his own hubris would not allow him to settle for anything less than resignation. The seemingly illogical and bizarre demand for a “one month resignation” starts to make sense when you consider that the PTI is desperately looking for anything stamped with the word “resignation” to show its supporters. With the government refusing to budge and the umpire lurking in the wings, something has got to give.

It is becoming clear that the government can’t escape unscathed from this situation. It needs to stop trying to win this deadlock and should be trying to end it. There is no winning left. The longer this farce goes on, the greater the chance of some foolish action by the two revolutions trying to ‘raise the stakes’, leading to disaster. With parties such as PPP and MQM calling for a ‘sacrifice’ on part of the government, perhaps the Shariff brothers need to sacrifice something in order to save democracy. With the whole country firmly bipartisan and supporters of each party listening only to news that confirm their side of the story; facts and logic does not seem to cut it. Could something that sounds as illogical as a “one month resignation” give the cat a way out without resorting to its claws?