With a strong campaign, three massive rallies, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the political situation in country is getter tenser day by day. The opposition believes it has an opportunity while the government’s response appears to be combativeness. In a country like with Pakistan with deep faultlines and a compromised democratic system, these are worrisome trends.
As an editorial in Dawn notes: “there is a trend evident here. The top leadership of the PTI is increasingly resorting to rhetoric that is both irresponsible and dangerous. Equating opponents with the enemy’s narrative, hurling accusations of treason and warning of a blowback from terror groups — all this can amount to incitement to violence. It is shocking that people occupying offices of responsibility are indulging in such crude tactics to pressure their opponents. It appears the government has adopted a no-holds-barred approach towards the opposition regardless of the consequences this may accrue. It is perhaps in line with such a strategy that the PTI has decided to hold public rallies to counter the campaign launched by the PDM. The first rally is scheduled to be held in Hafizabad and the prime minister is expected to address it. This will further fuel tension and escalate the level of confrontation. With both the government and opposition hitting the streets and increasing the tempo of their rhetoric, the situation seems primed for some mishap. It is a pity that in this deadly game of one-upmanship no one is willing to take a step back. There is no individual, organisation or institution that can step in the middle and disengage political rivals before they fall off the precipice. What makes this of greater concern are the charged times we live in. The Gilgit-Baltistan elections later this month are providing all parties a platform to ratchet up their rhetoric, and in another two weeks the PDM will resume its jalsas. Sanity must prevail on all sides before the situation reaches a point that becomes unsustainable for our already weak and compromised system.”