The Difa-i-Pakistan Conference at Multan, the third after similar conferences at Lahore and Islamabad, warned that any restoration of Nato supplies would be met by mass blockages of the routes, as well as a siege of Parliament. The Council’s rally was organized by its constituent parties, which included the JUI(S), the Jamaat ud Dawa, the Ahle Sunnat wal Jamaat Pakistan, the Jamaat-i-Islami and the PML factions of Sh Rasheed Ahmad and Ijazul Haq. If, on the one hand, the message to the USA and other Nato countries must be clear, that the people of Pakistan have not forgotten the attack on its Salalah check post, which led to the killing of 24 troops by Nato helicopter gunships, the rulers in Islamabad should also note that the moves that have been afoot to restore Nato supplies will rebound on them. Those in Parliament should note with concern, that the government is viewed with suspicion as being pro-American, and the reasons and logic of considering the restoration of Nato supplies is neither understood, nor therefore accepted.

It should also be noticed that the reaction in South Punjab has been especially unfavourable, and the Council’s agenda has drawn huge crowds in the area, despite it having not many elected representatives speaking at the function. Much attention was focused on South Punjab, because Imran Khan’s PTI has made several gains here, and because since 1988, the seats of the region have been swing seats: whichever party has won them has also won overall. PTI's success there is not unusual, given that its agenda is also strongly anti-US and nationalistic.

The 10-point agenda of the Council, which includes ridding Pakistan of the American 'footprint', stopping drone attacks and vacating Pakistani bases, has gathered such massive crowds because it reflects feelings which have not found adequate vent or pacification through Parliament - the correct forum for such matters to be discussed. Any government ignoring such widely expressed sentiment will do so only at its own peril, especially with a general election just around the corner, and with it not unlikely chances that there will be an early dissolution.

The government must not ignore this message from the grassroots. The government must commit to its stance of refusing passage for Nato supplies, and sift through the Council’s agenda to decipher what about it has drawn such support and claimed the attention of those disillusioned by Parliament. Any hesitation, any restoration of Nato supplies, will only result in a dangerous law and order situation, if the Council comes good on its threat.