LAHORE - The announcement made by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf to shut down the federal capital on October 30 is being taken by the government seriously for it aims at closing down the entire business of the government and there are chances of a clash between the protesters and the law-enforcement agencies.

The PTI has not so far shown any laxity in its plan to go ahead with the Islamabad shutdown despite many calls from other opposition parties. The government is also not showing any lethargy and has entrusted the task of dealing with the shutdown move to the security agencies, said the PML-N sources. As the first step, the authorities have asked the security operatives to act carefully and strictly according to the law if the protest remains peaceful and does not disturb the life in federal capital.

However, other options are also on the table if the situation worsens due to the PTI adamance. Sources say the government has utmost desire to avoid any unpleasant situation and wants the PTI also exercise its constitutional right in a peaceful way. As such it is mobilising the political platform to stop the PTI from shutting down the capital or to keep its protest within the law, said the sources.

They say at the level of the PML-N no such planning is underway to counter the PTI show through any violent means. The sources said the party leadership, keeping the PML-N purely on the political side, has entrusted security matters to the law-enforcement agencies which are assessing the magnitude of the show and the measures to counter the same. However, the ministers and the party leaders are convincing the people about the negative impact of the PTI shutdown call in a situation when economic indicators are showing better prospects and the prime minister is forcefully pleading the Kashmir case at the international forum.

The PTI show of this extreme nature is being staged to force Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to either step down or appear for accountability on the allegations of providing funds to his dependent children to run the offshore companies and purchase assets abroad, evading tax at home and concealing these facts from the Election Commission of Pakistan at the time of filing the nomination papers in the last elections.

The PML-N leaders have ruled out any possibility of shutdown of Islamabad on October 30, so they want life going on normally on that day. The prime minister, the National Assembly speaker, the information minister and others in the lower hierarchy of the government say in unison that they would not allow Khan to shut down the federal capital.

The government strongly believes that the PTI protest is a part of the anti-progress and anti-development agenda the rival party is pursuing at the behest of any hidden hand.

The PTI totally rejects this impression and says the rulers who have committed corruption of billions of rupees are attempting to escape accountability. After the convincing power show at Adda Plot near Raiwind on September 30, the PTI is in high spirits to make the next show even more impressive. Like the Atta Plot show, the PTI alone is out to block the entire federal capital this time also, except meagre public support from Awami Muslim League of Sheikh Rashid.

On the matter of an inquiry into Panama leaks, the PPP appreciates Imran Khan, but this mainstream party does not agree to the mode adopted to achieve the objectives of holding the rulers accountable for running the offshore companies. The PPP is also unhappy with Imran Khan over his solo flight on the issue. Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) which was a partner of PTI in the sit-in in Islamabad in 2014 is hiding behind the curtain despite the fact that its chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri has a long list of very serious charges against the Sharifs and the PML-N government.

The PTI has also threatened to resign from the assemblies and even quit the government in Khyber PK to aggravate the situation. The PML-N sources say it is not afraid of any such move of the PTI because the other parties have refused to join its protest.