ISLAMABAD    -    Many within PTI leadership are frustrated over any outcome of party chief Imran Khan’s planned anti-government long march following the top military leadership has eloquently spoken that Army would remain apolitical but any political and economic instability in the country could not be tolerated.

Some party leaders are not much optimistic that the long march would help them to achieve their ultimate agenda of forcing the coalition government to hold early elections after another day’s unprecedented presser of two top military generals giving a broader political message and putting to rest all speculations, background interviews with some PTI leaders indicate. Much before the announcement of the anti-government protest, a majority of the party leadership had been opposing the long march fearing it may meet the fate of their May 25 protest at a time when powerful quarters were not supporting them, some insiders said.

PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan is adamant to its political ambitions of  holding a protest sit-in in Islamabad only to pressurize the government to announce snap polls. The federal government led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has categorically rejected the demand. It says that the election would be held in time following the completion of its term that will expire in August next year.

Even second and third tier leadership of PTI question the fate of the march when Imran Khan has now openly confronted the military establishment after giving its indirect references, in public rallies, with the words of Mr X, Mr Y and ‘neutrals’. They ask what face saving would be left for the party and its chairman if it exhausted its last option of a long march. And in case, a sizeable crowd doesn’t turn up in the federal capital.

In Pakistan, there is no past precedent in the last couple of decades that any opposition party has succeeded in sending the government packing through a long march, either with or without support of the military establishment. PTI chief Imran Khan had held 126-day protest sit-in in the capital during 2014 and then, it was widely believed that the power quarters were supporting him. Even then, he had not succeeded to oust then government of Nawaz Sharif.

In 2019, JUI-F led by Maulana Fazlur Rehman had taken out the long march on Islamabad to throw out then government of Imran Khan but the move also remained unsuccessful.

On October 28, PTI chief Khan embarked on a long march towards Islamabad that will finally reach the capital on November 4 and turn into a protest sit-in. Khan claims that the protest that is being dubbed as “Haqeeqi Azadi march” by him would only culminate with the announcement of early elections by the coalition government.