For the past two weeks thousands of people have been sitting in front of the Parliament House in Pakistan demanding for the Prime Minister of the country to resign. With no end to the protests in sight, there can only be two possible outcomes of these protests.
In Pakistan, there are currently two major anti-government protests taking place simultaneously under Imran Khan and Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, leaders of two different political parties. They are demanding the ruling Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign immediately, or the protests won’t end.
Thousands have been protesting in Pakistan’s capital city, Islamabad since August 14. These citizens are among countless others that blame the ruling government of rigging the 2013 general elections. Among demands like asking the Prime Minister to resign immediately, they are also asking for re-elections.
Most of them have followed their cricketer-turned-politician leader Imran Khan and his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, PTI, from near and far. He is the center of attraction and the hub of all activity in Islamabad right now.
However, two weeks in to the sit-in protests, things seem to be in a limbo.
For Details Read: 5 Things You Need To Know About The Anti-Government Protests In Pakistan
Dialogue between the government and the protestors’ representatives have failed and the ruling government of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz, PML (N), refuses to bow down.
Growing lethargic of the status quo, people have begun to hope for an end to the situation- not knowing which way things will go.
There are two likely outcomes:
The Prime Minister resigns and there is a vacuum in leadership
The Parliament has passed a unanimous resolution Thursday that “rejects the unconstitutional demands” of the protesters asking for the removal of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
However even if the Prime Minister does cave in and resigns, there is no real hope for what may happen next? Neither of the two leaders protesting in Islamabad really have the acumen fit enough to manage things. Qadri has no experience and has yet to show any notions of how he wants to bring about the change he has been promising his followers.
Khan has almost two decades in politics and that of the last year ruling his own province. However, he is surrounded with political stalwarts who have been part of the ‘system’ for way too long and have shown no signs of change. They abandoned their previous political parties to join his, but bring with them years of experience as well as of fraud, loot and plunder; the very corruption Khan wants to fight.
And then there is his alliance with the religious right-wing political parties and hardliners.
At the moment, things do not look very positive.
Efforts of both the leaders are likely to go in vain
Imran Khan has so far held loyalty of many Pakistanis who are frustrated with the current government. He’s been speaking against corruption, U.S. drone strikes and legacy politics as well as asking for electoral reforms. However, if anything the last two weeks have seen his touch evaporating right before thousands of eyes.
He has not backed any of his claims with proofs; promising to do so only if and when the premier resigns. However despite his heated attacks and demands, the government hasn’t budged. Khan, who was supposed to bring the house down, has been unable break the political deadlock while his dwindling followers sleep night after night on the streets.
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His heated attacks on the government are cushioned between dancing, drum beats, patriotic songs and a general atmosphere of a festival rather than an uprising. Worse, he has turned to inflammatory tactics and foul language.
The other leader (remember – two simultaneous protests calling for the same thing), Tahir-ul-Qadri is seen as being vague. He wants to replace the ruling government with that of technocrats but he has no political acumen himself, holds no seats in the Pakistani parliament and though he speaks of ending corruption and terrorism, he has no definite plans on how he may accomplish any of that.
So the elements shaking democracy up at the moment with lofty and laudable ideologies but half-cooked plans are in fact endangering democracy.
The timing isn’t great either. The country is fighting perhaps the most important and lethal of its battles against terrorists in its Northern Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) which is ruled by Khan and his party PTI.
Thousands in his own province have become homeless as a result of the military operation as well as recent floods; they are not happy with their leader’s indifference to their plight.
An obstinate and half-cooked upheaval, if anything is irresponsible.