It is the time of the month when the inconsistent opposition gears up energy and revitalises its campaign against the ruling party. Despite toying with the threat many times over the last few years, this time the opposition appears quite serious about attempting a vote of no-confidence. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior leader Syed Khursheed Shah has even given a date- on Sunday he said the opposition parties will submit a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan on 8th March.

How seriously should the government take this threat? On the surface, the government appears to be dismissing the effort. PTI leaders Sheikh Rasheed and Pervez Khattak have mocked the opposition’s strategies as fancies- saying that on the date of the vote, the opposition bench will not show up.

The government would not be faulted too much for thinking of the opposition’s threats as a bluff. For the last two months, the opposition has been teasing the idea of a motion of no-confidence. It is also true that the opposition has not shown the numbers yet—it still requires 9-11 people to be able to successfully pass a vote of no-confidence. Therein lies the question on everyone’s minds—is the opposition’s claim of having poached parliamentarians from the PTI credible?

It is true that there have been several reports of divisions in the ruling party’s camp, as there have been stories of discontent PTI politicians. No matter how much PTI may deny that these stories of discord are rumours, where there is smoke there is fire, and even the leaders of the ruling party know there is some risk of defectors in the party. However, for that to happen, the opposition must also be a united block, and that is also clearly not the case. The horse-trading that occurred in the Senate elections damaged some of the opposition parties as much as it did to PTI. Just last month, the government was successful in disrupting the opposition when PPP Senator Yusuf Raza Gilani resigned from the post of leader of the opposition in the Senate.

The opposition has not even demonstrated the ability to stop any of the contentious bills introduced in parliament—pulling off a vote of no-confidence, with that resume, would be an achievement indeed.