The domestic political arena continues to heat up as it was announced that to counter the PPP’s plan to march from Karachi to Islamabad against the federal government on February 27, the PTI announced that it would launch its own long march from Ghotki to Karachi against the government of Sindh on the same date. The premise for planning this march is apparently the Sindh Local Government Act which has proven to be controversial, in addition to what the government claims is a poor performance of PPP in Sindh with regard to the provision of basic facilities such as health and education.
This is an interesting decision by the government in power and it remains to be seen how it will be perceived if it actually continues with the March. Of course, political parties are on the lookout for any opportunities that arise to destabilize their political adversaries. A possible show of street power in the PPP stronghold may add pressure on the provincial government, but it should also be borne in mind that the PTI is no longer in opposition. The government is already under a lot of pressure due to the current economic crisis, so it must be wary of the optics of holding a rally when it has many other priorities to take care of.
Meanwhile, the other opposition parties are still strategizing on what their next move should be. While the PDM has announced a long march on Pakistan Day, March 23, a lot can happen between now and then. There has been talk of a vote of no confidence against the PTI as the JUI-F said the option would be considered under the right circumstances as the opposition lacks numbers at the moment. The PPP and the ANP seem to be going their separate ways at the moment and it remains to be seen if they will eventually join forces with the PML-N and JUI-F down the line.
Reports also suggest a no-confidence motion would have been more feasible had government allies parted ways with the ruling party over the approval of the mini-budget. However, this did not materialize and it remains to be seen what the opposition parties will do next. For the PTI however, the sole objective must be to provide economic relief wherever possible to cushion the blow of the IMF measures.