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There is a strong likelihood that the so-called ‘Mehngai March’ will just be a game of power show and the PDM parties will make every effort to remain politically relevant.

By Amjad Ali | March 2022

Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the president of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) chief, has announced a march towards Islamabad against the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on March 23rd, a day when Pakistan day is celebrated across the country. Maulana Fazlur Rahman has named it as ‘Mehngai March,’ which will be taken against increasing inflation and skyrocketing price hike in various essential commodities. Although it is the right of every citizen and social or political organization to record its protest, the PDM leaders realise the fact that their movement will have the least possible impact on the incumbent PTI government other than merely causing mental anguish to the people.

The PDM is a hodgepodge of political parties with a long-standing prevalence of mutual distrust. Thus, there is a strong likelihood that this so-called ‘Mehngai March’ will just be a game of power show and the PDM parties will make every effort to remain politically relevant, and nothing more than that.

A makeshift combination of different political parties pursuing a different approach and inclination, the PDM can be referred to as a political marriage of convenience in which none of the side is willing to lose anything in the pursuit of more political ends and advantages, using the facade of being a part of an anti-government movement and portraying itself as the ‘real opposition’, which is not the case. In fact, all of them are eyeing forthcoming local bodies polls and general elections.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman-led JUI could not make significant gains in the last general election to the extent that Maulana himself lost his seat from his hometown. Therefore, they have an insignificant presence in the parliament. When the PTI government assumed power in August 2018, the JUI was ardently pursuing to overthrow the PTI government from the word go. Maulana Fazlur Rahman tried to convince his political partners to resort to the extremes of toppling the government by blocking the capital Islamabad. At that juncture, however, his other allies were least interested in his adventurous proposition.

After that moment, Maulana wanted all the Opposition parties to resign from the legislature in one go and he is still in favour of taking extreme measures to get rid of the PTI government, led by Imran Khan. A collective resignation from the parliament will consequently compel the government to hold fresh elections because holding by-polls in all vacant constituencies will not be feasible. Logically, if the PDM is really interested in getting rid of the existing regime then its members must resign at a stroke, but anything less than collective resignation is merely an eyewash, no more, no less. However, the rest of the PDM-allies are not willing to do so since they do not want to indulge in political brinkmanship at the cost of suffering more losses than making gains.

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