Both the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the PML-N are responsible for all that transpired in Faisalabad on Monday. The PTI leadership has been conciously practicing politics of agitation, harbouring feelings of injustice and animosity amongst its charged supporters, pitching them to clash against the police and others time and again. PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s plan C is a continuation of the destructive trend, which manifested itself in Faisalabad on Monday with baton-weilding party workers burning tyres to block roads and in some instances, enforcing the closure of shops to implement their leader’s ‘vision’. Failure of plan A and plan B ought to have prompted serious introspection and revision of policy within the party, but unfortunately it continues to tread the path of destruction. Imran Khan wanted a fight, and the government obliged, cementing suspicions that it is unwilling and perhaps completely incapable of mending its ways.

The PML-N government could have handled matters differently. If PTI workers were creating a law and order situation in Pakistan’s Manchester, it was the job of law enforcement agencies to deal with them. The PML-N had been threatening the PTI, claiming that no one would be allowed to shut down any city. Rana Sanaullah and Abid Sher Ali, who lead the party in Faisalabad, had issued statements challenging the PTI to exercise its strength. As feared, the PML-N yet again demonstrated its true colours. The party unleashed its workers to clash with the PTI’s, and the spectacle unfolded before all to witness. As always, they enjoyed complete immunity from the police as they took to the streets with sticks and stones of their own to deliver the promised challenge. Haq Nawaz, allegedly a worker of the PTI, was shot dead during the clashes. It is yet to be confirmed who pulled the trigger and which party the culprit belonged to. What can be said with certainty, however, is that Haq Nawaz fell victim to the politics of two entities, one looking for blood to gain political advantage and the other more than willing to spill it to preserve power at all costs. Could Imran Khan not foresee what would happen in Faisalabad on Monday? Could Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif not predict the results if they let loose their ever-ready goons to counter the opposition? Of course, they did. But, it didn’t matter for either one of them.

It is a sad state of affairs, as the PML-N and the PTI continue to blame each other for which they ought to share the responsibility as well as the shame. Dialogue between the two appears unlikely after recent events. The Punjab government has issued a red alert throughout Punjab. The danger of further clashes is more imminent than ever. Sane voices calling for positive political engagement continue to go ignored. Imran appears hellbent to bring the government down no matter what it takes, and the government is determined to prove that it deserves it.