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The PTI Long March fizzled after a day of chaos on Wednesday and early Thursday hours. It is difficult to see the gainers and losers of the entire exercise. But how it fizzled after calls for sit-in, may provide some clues. Imran Khan says he will be back with his magic two million numbers in six days if the assemblies are not dissolved or a date of elections is not announced by then.

Everyone and their aunt know getting an election date out of a sit-in without the buy-in from the country’s establishment, is simply not possible. Why six days? What kind of a pressure can the PTI build to uproot the government? That too, after a violent and tiresome exercise of the March itself. Not much, it appears.

Unless of course, one of the many coalition partners jump ship. There is no ground for it yet, but when have they needed solid grounds you ask. It has happened so often in the past that it not happening may be the actual surprise, and not the other way around.

But don’t forget the PML-N led government insists to complete the term, after initial hesitance from London. Don’t forget the party rank and file in loud and clear terms wanted the “stakeholders” buy-in in order to take any tough decisions. The tough decisions never came. It appears unlikely they are coming anytime soon either. So, what gave? Why did the PML-N London leadership have a sudden change of heart as regards completing the term? Remains a mystery.

Assurances? There may have been. But it is hard to believe the rope extended is unconditional. The failed IMF talks add further credence to the notion that the current setup is after all not ready to burn the political capital. After all, even if you have the powers to be in your camp (or you are in theirs) the wrath of the masses eventually falls on political parties. That may seem too heavy a cost to pay so close to the elections. Add to that, the mistrust that is everywhere. No one trusts no one in Islamabad and the twin city these days.

Why six days again? Another petroleum price decision is due by then – and in all likelihood it will be status quo. It can’t be that. If you can’t do it, let the caretakers do it, seems to be the message. The passage of bill related to voting rights of overseas Pakistanis is a clear indication, things are fast moving towards another PM. A caretaker.


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