ISLAMABAD - As the country’s two major opposition parties are meeting today (Sunday) to make a joint plan to launch a protest movement against the government, the ruling PTI perceives no threat from this gathering for different reasons.

Background interviews with some key PTI leaders indicate that the ruling party is not worried about any protest movement expected to be launched after Eidul Fitr and led by either PML-N or PPP. They think that both parties are compromised.

There is a feeling within the ruling party that any protest movement jointly or separately launched by either opposition party will not be impressive because leadership of both parties are facing corruption cases and they only want to save their skin by threatening the government through such tactics.

“Both the parties are now reacting after their failure to get any National Reconciliation Ordinance(NRO) like deal or concession from the government,” said Secretary Information PTI Omar Sarfraz Cheema, adding their move would prove counter-productive.

Secondly, PTI believes that former President and Co-chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari and President Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif have neither any tendency to lead a joint protest movement nor they have proved in the past to become an ally of each other in such protests.

PTI leaders indicate party is not worried about any protest movement being planned by PML-N and PPP

“The masses are now politically well aware and they would not pay heed to the protest calls of these two parties,” said Cheema. He added that people have rejected both the parties in the General Elections 2018.

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zaradri has invited newly-appointed Vice President PML-N and daughter of former prime minister Maryam Nawaz today (Sunday) at an Iftar dinner in Islamabad. While Ms Nawaz has accepted the invitation, the three other opposition parties including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party would also participate in it. Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), an ally of the government, is also expected to attend the important meeting.

Senior political analyst Zaigham Khan says that he, in short term, sees no threat for the government in case opposition agitates. He said that the opposition parties at the moment are not in a position to launch a protest movement at its own which can create trouble for the government. “But in the wake of deteriorating economy of the country, the discontent of people can increase and the situation of a spontaneous mass movement can emerge,” Khan said. 

The senior analyst said that the opposition only wanted to regain its lost space. “During its first nine years in power, the government kept the opposition in pressure and itself behaved as the opposition,” he added. The first benefit opposition can get from any such movement is that it can bring the government under pressure, he said. And secondly, it can succeed to make the government unpopular due to the bad economic conditions and its decision to sign $6 billion bailout package with International Monetary Fund, he added.

About the question whether PML-N and PPP can make an alliance against the government, Khan said that very unlikely alliances existed in the country’s history. Both parties have a history to work together at the end of General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf’s regime and both had signed Charter of Democracy to oust the military dictator from government, he said. “It is basically a matter of interests and political parties used to unite when they have same goals,” he said. He also said that PPP this time is looking more aggressive. 

On last Friday, PML-N has also summoned an important party meeting on May 20 in Islamabad to decide whether or not to lunch protest movement against the government. For the first time after getting bail in Avenfield properties reference almost eight months before, Ms Nawaz now has not only become activate not in the party ranks but also on the social networking site—Twitter.

Earlier this week, PML-N and PPP separately hinted at launching a protest movement against the government for “dwindling economy of the country including increasing inflation, increase in petroleum prices and devaluation of rupee against dollar.”

On Wednesday, Zardari, after obtaining pre-arrest bail from Islamabad High Court in fake bank accounts case, said that his party would launch a street protest against the PTI government after Eidul Fitr.