Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Objective Truths

Pillars of Creation
Courtesy: National Geographic
The history of modern science is said to have begun with the Copernicus Revolution. It was in 1543 C.E. when Nicolaus Copernicus, a Polish astronomer, published his thesis proposing the idea of a heliocentric model of the solar system, as opposed to the geocentric model which the people at that time widely believed in. The event also marked the beginning of schism between Christianity and modern science. Although Copernicus was a practicing Christian and his ideas were not as strongly opposed by the Church as was the case with his successors like Galileo Galilee, yet his revolution marks the point where people had to choose between two ideas. Whether to believe in the ‘truths’ proposed by the science or by the religion?  

At that time most of the people chose to believe in the religious truths, but slowly they began to realize that the scientific truths were more convincing. The major factor that made the scientific findings more convincing was that the modern science had gradually adopted empiricism and had largely abandoned rationalism. Before the Copernicus revolution, most of the philosophers and thinkers believed in rationalism and used to base their study of the universe on their intellectual prowess. Modern science developed its methods of studying the universe on the power of observation. It is certainly more convincing for a man to believe in the existence of the sun if he is made to see it, instead of being offered logical reasoning while sitting inside a dark cave. That’s why people found the scientific discoveries far more convincing than the religious theories about the universe, which in many cases were not even based on rationalism.

Should religion have created theories about the nature of universe? Is nature within the scope of religion? Does the failure of religious theories about the nature in the wake of empirical discoveries means that a person who believes that the religion is from God should abandon his faith?

First of all, religion should not have been used to form theories about the nature of universe. Religion is supposed to be about the spiritual needs of the humans. Using religion to discover the material universe is as absurd as using science to discover spirituality.

Secondly, the theories that the Christians believed to be based on their religion were either adopted from the works of earlier philosophers or were the result of literal interpretation of their religious texts. Same goes for the Muslims who try to interpret their religious texts in literal sense and then end up with theories about the universe which stand in stark contrast with the scientific discoveries.

So, the case against religion based theories about the universe is not essentially a case against the religion itself. It is against those who believe that the religious texts are supposed to deliver literal meaning. If God says that He created man from clay, it doesn't necessarily mean that God literally took some clay in His hands and carved it into a sculpture and then breathed into it to make it alive. If someone believes that, he is interpreting God’s words from the limited point of view of man. But are the scientific discoveries ‘objective truths’? Is everyone supposed to ‘believe’ in them? Science has its limitations. Laymen still believe that science is working solely on the principles of empiricism and is thus irrefutable. The fact is that not only can empiricism be refuted, it has already hit its limits. The discovery of subatomic particles and Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle has ended the undisputed reign of empiricism over modern science. Scientists have once again gone back to the thought experiments; the ancient tool of rationalism. Similarly, the Chaos theory put Reductionism on death bed, another philosophy on which modern science had relied for a long time. While the very bedrock of science, the mother of all the philosophies which science has adopted to date; Materialism, is under the threat of extinction at the hands of ‘the hard problem of Consciousness’. Modern science has even reached the point where some theories are supposed to be taken entirely on faith, since empirically proving or disproving them is impossible. For example, the Copenhagen Interpretation and Many Worlds Interpretation, two competing concepts that attempt to explain the wave function collapse, can't be proved or disproved because in both cases the alternate state of the quantum particle is not observable. Scientists have recently started to prefer latter over the former mainly because it is more inline with Determinism, another basic philosophy of science which escaped its fate despite being bruised by the Free Will Theorem, thanks to the Many Worlds Interpretation. So, it's not like scientists are actually looking for objective truths. They are just looking for the simplest explanation. Occam's Razor has often been used by the scientists to shave off any metaphysical interpretations or corollaries of scientific discoveries. It simply states that "when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better." In Newton's words, "we are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances." and according to Stephen Hawking, "we could still imagine that there is a set of laws that determines events completely for some Supernatural Being, Who could observe the present state of the universe without disturbing it. However, such models of the universe are not of much interest to us mortals. It seems better to employ the principle known as Occam's razor and cut out all the features of the theory that cannot be observed." [1] The point is, at every given time people have held different ‘scientific beliefs’. There were times when they believed in the indivisibility of atom, absolute space and time, circular orbits of the planets, spherical earth, infinite speed of light and so on. Science, throughout the course of its history, has adopted various philosophies and discarded them later on. But in all those points of time, people who wouldn't believe in the popular science were ridiculed and deemed unreasonable, including scientists. There exists a dogma which seeks to destroy any belief contrary to those which have been established by the contemporary science. People in every era have declared that the discoveries of their ‘science’ are objective truths. The problem however is, what kind of ‘objective truths’ change with time? It is perfectly reasonable to believe in the scientific facts while acknowledging their limitations, but it is utterly absurd to dogmatize them as objective truths.
“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” ~ Stephen Hawking

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Creativity vs. Intelligence

If Intelligence is defined as the ability to solve mathematical and logical problems, to understand similarities and differences between things, to predict results after observing patterns etc. and Creativity  as the ability to create and understand an idea, through writing, painting, poetry or any other means, then, in my opinion, Creativity is more important than intelligence and is also more unique in the sense that humans possess Intelligence only on a greater scale than that of other species, but Creativity is an ability possessed by them alone. Other species have the ability of problem solving, however far less than that of the humans, but they don't have the ability to create and understand an idea at all.

A basic assumption here is that Creativity and Intelligence are essentially two different things, that a highly creative person doesn't necessarily have to be good at logic or mathematics, and vice versa. This assumption is neither supported nor rejected by any conclusive study, but observation usually supports it.

If that is true, then an intelligent person is nothing more than an organism which is better at problem solving as compared to other organisms. Even computers have this ability in the form of Artificial Intelligence, and their abilities might someday surpass the humans. What they don't have is Creativity; the ability to form and comprehend ideas.

For example, a mathematically intelligent person could be replaced by a computer that can perform calculations even faster. In fact, this has happened during the last few decades. But no computer has ever been able to understand the ideas of a poet or to form a political ideology, and probably no computer will ever be.

That's why I've always believed that the students of art and literature are more important and superior than the students of sciences. The former's abilities surpass the latter's as Creativity is required to study arts, while the study of sciences generally requires Intelligence only.

In the future, computers might replace intelligent humans. So, Creative humans will eventually become more important than their intelligent counterparts. As far as I know, Creativity is something very different than Intelligence, and computers might never be able to gain it.  

Monday, 3 November 2014

The Eternal Battle

Before 610 C.E., Arabia was in the dark age or the age of ignorance. Religion was a dominant factor in everyone’s life, just like it has always been in the history, and it was based on the materialistic interests of a small elite class that ruled over the masses through deception. The elite had created a paradigm which benefited only them, by instilling beliefs in gods who would unleash their wrath upon the people if they shifted even a bit from the norms established by them. The society was designed in a way that prevented the masses from rebelling against the elite because they were nearer to the gods. Their rule was justified because it was granted to them by the gods. Every tribe had their own gods which legitimized the stratification of the society on religious basis. Rational thinking was discouraged and any idea that could prove to be a threat for the established system was instantly curbed. Quraysh were the most powerful people in Mecca and were the owners of the Ka’aba, which they had filled with idols of the gods created by their ancestors. They were the descendants of the Prophet Ismael, Abraham’s eldest son, who had brought the Abrahamic religion to Arabia. Through centuries, the original religion was corrupted and adjusted to accommodate the superiority of certain people over others without ever being challenged. But in 610 C.E. one man rose against them and their unjust system, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Prophet belonged to the Banu Hashim, one of the two major clans of the Quraysh tribe. Thus he was not a commoner, he was a noble, and his grandfather was the chief of his clan. This fact makes it hard to believe that the Prophet brought the existing system down for his self interest. The existing system was all about his own interests. Yet he struggled against the system of injustice and tyranny to replace it with a system based on justice and equality. He called for the rights of slaves in a society where slaves were treated like animals. He called for rights of women and for the first time in the history of Arabia women were given the right to inheritance. He stood against racial discrimination, social stratification, tribal chauvinism, ignorance and illiteracy. Like any reformer, he was first subjected to ridicule. When he didn’t abandon his stance, the opposition grew more violent. His powerful clan kept him protected until the enmity against him grew so strong that he had to leave his hometown altogether. In short, the Prophet abandoned his social status, his home, his wealth and eventually his powerful tribe for a cause that was against his own material interests. He stood against the unjust and illegitimate authorities of the time without considering what his stand would cost him. In 680 C.E., about 50 years after the Prophet’s death, the Arab society was once again degenerating to its earlier state. A tyrant had seized the Prophet’s pulpit and religion was being used to legitimize his rule. People were forced to pledge allegiance to him either through terrorism or by making them believe that he was the legitimate viceregent of God on earth. Those who could see through the deception didn’t have the courage to stand against him. At that time, the Prophet’s grandson, Imam Hussain ibn Ali, took the stand. Despite being sure that his campaign will end with him being killed by Yazid I, the self proclaimed Caliph of the Muslim empire, he left for Kufa without any hesitation to lead a rebellion aimed at liberating the city from Yazid’s Caliphate. On his way he learnt that Yazid had appointed one of his bloodthirsty generals, Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, as the governor of Kufa and a huge army was on its way to trap his caravan. Most of the dissidents in Kufa were either killed or imprisoned and some of the opportunists among them were even conscripted as the vanguard of Yazid's otherwise largely Levantine army. Nevertheless, Imam Hussain didn’t take a step back until he was stopped by thousands of soldiers with orders to kill him if he didn’t pledge allegiance to the Caliph. Being the grandson of the Prophet and having no match to his piety, Imam Hussain had an immense influence among the masses. Had he pledged allegiance to the tyrant, his rule would have been legitimized without any doubt, but it was the only way he could save his life and the life of his family and companions. Imam Hussain had not left his hometown Medina for battle. He had left it for Mecca to perform pilgrimage accompanied with his family and some companions. He received letters from the chiefs of Kufa urging him to lead their rebellion against the illegitimate Caliph. The Imam left for Kufa without wasting any time. In his caravan were less than a hundred men and rest were women and children, including his six months old son. After being surrounded by Yazid's troops at Karbala, the Imam was given two choices. Either accept Yazid as the legitimate Caliph and pledge allegiance to him, or die. Imam Hussain knew that not only will he die, but his companions will also be killed and his family will be imprisoned. He told his companions to exercise their free will. They were to choose whether to leave and live or to stay and die. Everyone chose to die. For three days Hussain’s caravan was denied access to water. It is said that when children in Hussain’s caravan used to cry “Thirst! Thirst!”, their voice sometimes reached Yazid's soldiers and even they found it hard to keep themselves from bringing water to them. But the orders were clear and any kind of disobedience would have been severely punished. On 10th of Muharram, 61 A.H. (October 10, 680 C.E.), Imam Hussain made his stand which the Muslims still have not forgotten. That day is called Ashura and is still observed as a day of mourning by many Muslims around the world. Hussain chose death over humiliation. He chose to openly deny the authority of an illegitimate ruler instead of covertly accepting it. Thousands of Yazid's soldiers poured over Imam Hussain’s caravan and massacred them, including Hussain’s six months old son, who was brought by him out of the tent to ask the enemy for some water for the infant, instead he was shot by an arrow that pierced his neck. The women were taken as prisoners and severed heads of the Imam and his companions were impaled on pikes and paraded on the streets of Kufa and Damascus. It was a military defeat but a moral success. Imam Hussain had deprived Yazid of any chance of legitimization and had unveiled his true face which will never be forgotten by the history. Hussain’s martyrdom sparked unrest in Hejaz which further revealed Yazid's cruel and godless nature. In 683 C.E. Yazid's troops sacked Medina after the notorious battle of Al-Harra and plundered, murdered and raped the residents of the holy city for three days. The soldiers defiled the Prophet’s tomb by using it as stables for their horses. Later on, Mecca was besieged and Ka’aba was bombarded with catapults where Abdullah Ibn Zubayr, the leader of the revolt in Hejaz, had established his headquarters. However the news of Yazid's sudden death resulted in an abrupt ending of the campaign. Yazid's son Muawiya II refused to ascend his father’s bloody throne and the Umayyad Caliphate fell into a temporary state of chaos. Self proclaimed Caliphs kept ruling the Muslim world for centuries afterwards and Muslims as a whole failed to get inspired by the Imam’s revolt, just like they failed to sustain the reformation of the society brought by the Prophet of Islam, but his martyrdom showed the moral path to those who wanted to see. He made it clear that not everyone who seizes power becomes a legitimate authority. His struggle against the tyrant of his time taught the Muslims that Islam, in its true sense, can never justify injustice. Karbala was not just a battle, it was the epitome of the eternal conflict between Justice and Injustice. Imam Hussain was not just a rebel, he was the legend of Guardian of Justice. His message is clear; death is better than living under an illegitimate government. Ali and his sons, including Hussain, were cursed from every pulpit of the Muslim empire, from Sindh to Andalusia, for most part of the Umayyad era. Anyone who was suspected of being sympathetic to them was mercilessly persecuted. But Hussain’s martyrdom was never forgotten by most of the Muslims and every effort made by the Umayyads and their ideological descendants to eradicate the memory of Karbala largely proved to be futile. The life of the Prophet and that of his family shows that Islam is more than just offering prayers, keeping fasts, growing beards and declaring others infidel. Islam is about resisting illegitimate authority, tyranny and corruption. It’s not about killing others for something you believe in, it’s about sacrificing your own life for bringing justice to the society. Its main goal is to disrupt the system that benefits only some people and establish a system that benefits all.

"This world has changed, snubbed, and its good has turned tail. Nothing has remained from it except a thing that is as scanty as the leftover of a cup and a mean life that is like a noxious grazing. Have you not noticed that the right is ignored and the evil is not forbidden? This is sufficient for making the believer's desire for meeting Allah rightfully. I consider death as happiness and life with the wrongdoers as boredom. People are certainly the slaves of this world. The religion is only a slaver on their tongues. They turn it wherever their livelihood demands. If they are examined by misfortunes, the religious will be very few." ~ Hussain ibn Ali

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Bedouin's Camel

There is an old fable which elderly people tell their grandchildren. It apparently originated in the Middle East but now it is a part of folklore in many cultures across the world. The story goes like this: a bedouin was travelling with his camel in a vast desert somewhere in Arabia. Night fell before he could reach any settlement or oasis and suddenly a strong sandstorm emerged out of nowhere. The bedouin quickly set up his tent and hid inside it to keep himself safe from the strong wind and piercing sand, while the camel stood outside. Camels are considered strong animals, perfect for the desert environment, and are known to withstand the strongest sandstorms without any cover or shelter. In fact it’s a common practice to hide behind a sitting camel to take refuge from storms. Anyhow, after a while the camel peeped into the tent and said,”the storm is very strong and the sand is stinging my eyes. Can I just keep my head inside your tent?” The bedouin couldn’t find any reason to deny the favor. So he allowed the camel to keep his head inside. After sometime, the camel spoke again,”the wind is getting stronger and my thin neck shakes every time a gust hits me. Can I just bring my neck inside?” The bedouin again couldn’t refuse and the camel brought his neck inside. After a while it spoke again,”look, my back has a huge hump on it and it stands in the way of the strong wind like a ship's sail. Every time a gust hits me I hardly keep myself from turning over. Can I just bring my hump inside?” The bedouin said,”but your hump is on your back. Bringing it in means bringing in your whole body.” The camel said,”no, I’ll keep my tail outside.” The bedouin couldn’t argue and allowed the camel in, with its tail hanging outside. It is said that in the end, the camel managed to get its tail inside too and since it was a large animal, it occupied all the space and eventually pushed the bedouin out of the tent into the sandstorm.

Since the insurgency against Assad began in Syria, the US has been acting like the bedouin’s camel. It started with indirectly supporting the ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels and now it’s conducting direct airstrikes on targets in Iraq. If the pattern remains the same, it will not take long before the US brings in its tail too i.e. ‘boots on the ground’.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Azadi March: Between Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

The protests led by Tahir-ul-Qadri and Imran Khan are gradually turning into a rebellion. People have stormed the PM house twice, reportedly captured the state TV, and there have been numerous clashes between the police and the protesters [1]. The situation aggravated after both the protest leaders decided to march onto the PM house, prompting the government to use force against the protesters for the first time since August 14. According to some sources live rounds were also fired by the police during the crackdown amid excessive tear gas shelling and brutal baton charge[2]. The protesters retaliated with slingshots and wooden sticks. In the end, the police was not able to successfully disperse the crowd. At least three protesters died during the clashes and several were wounded. The only purpose this crackdown served was to further enrage the crowd.

Javed Hashmi left Khan’s side after he announced that PTI will march onto the PM house with PAT. Hashmi views this step as a symbolic rebellion to Democracy. He was also unhappy with Khan’s decision to cooperate with PAT because Qadri doesn’t believe in the democratic ideals. In fact the PAT workers have been vocally calling on the army to intervene. Moreover, he was also aggrieved for not being consulted before Khan took the decision to move forward to the PM house [3].

Hashmi’s reservations certainly have weight. Although abandoning the protesters at the most crucial moment can obviously be seen as a betrayal to the cause, but his apprehension that he might be unknowingly contributing to a possible military takeover has become more realistic now. Most importantly, cooperating with Qadri will come at a high political cost for PTI as his agenda seems to be nothing other than causing chaos to make the situation ripe for the military to intervene. Today PAT workers ransacked the state TV while Khan kept appealing to both the PAT and PTI workers not to enter any state building. Hashmi stated yesterday that if the actions of PTI lead to a coup, they’ll have to spend next 20 years apologizing to the people.

On the other hand, a retreat will render Khan’s position so weak that even his supporters will abandon him. There is no way back once he decides to go forward except at the cost of his political career. So, he should think the decisions through from every possible angle. PTI is now in a very tough situation. Although the statement issued by ISPR after a meeting of corps commanders suggests that army is not in the mood to intervene [4], but the direction in which the crisis is going can create perfect conditions for a coup. Imran Khan is trapped between two very dangerous possibilities. His success depends on whether he will be able to create a third one.

4. ISPR Press Release No. PR184/2014-ISPR

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Azadi March: The Conspiracy

Army has finally entered the scene, boosting the rumors that all this turmoil was in fact orchestrated by the powerful military of the country. Meetings took place between the Prime Minister and the Army Chief on Thursday and next day the Chief met with both the protest leaders, ostensibly to mediate between the government and the protesters. According to the rumors, Nawaz Sharif was attempting to take full control of some national interests which, among the power structure of Pakistan, are considered to be de facto domains of the military establishment. These include the security affairs and foreign policy, especially the relations with USA and India. The struggle between the government and the military was underway since Nawaz Sharif assumed office and now the military is using PTI and PAT to mount pressure on the government in order to subjugate it. Many critics of Imran Khan think that on the basis of this theory, PTI is nothing but a puppet in the hands of Pakistani generals.

The fact that this is probably just a conspiracy theory, devoid of any factual basis, doesn’t seem to tone down the supporters of Nawaz Sharif’s party. From the day that PTI jumped into the political fray after a massive show of popular support in Lahore some months before the elections, it has been constantly blamed to be a sham political party which is acting as an agent of the military establishment. Although afterwards the facts suggest that PTI had no support from any of the power brokers of the country, as it fell short of any considerable success across Pakistan save one province, in elections with questionable transparency. For argument’s sake, lets assume that PTI is being used by the military establishment. The next question is, to what extent? Is Imran Khan actually being dictated by the GHQ, or is it that the military benefits from the chaos that is being caused by a third force in a political system that was dominated by two parties?

Anyone who knows even a bit about Imran Khan understands that a person like him can hardly be the one who accepts dictation. Even many of his critics agree that he can be fooled but can’t be reined in. It can be suspected that he might be collaborating with the army, but only to further his own cause. Moreover, recent events suggest that N-League leaders, and not the protesters, are relying on the army. There is a debate going on whether the army was called in by the government for mediation or did it just give a go ahead after army requested its role as mediators following calls from the protest leaders to get involved. Even if the government just gave a go ahead to the army, it contradicts the notion that there is a struggle or an atmosphere of mistrust between the two state institutions. But lets once again make an assumption. Lets say Imran Khan is being dictated by the GHQ. It then becomes a clear case of a power struggle between the government and the military. What, in this case, are the people supposed to do? Are they supposed to support the government, stay neutral or support the protesters backed by the military?

The conclusion made by the supporters of Nawaz Sharif is that after going through all those assumptions the people are supposed to back the government. Afterall, it’s the N-League standing against the oppressive military regime that has not let the civilians assume complete control of the country for half a century. But the question is, are people going to trust Nawaz Sharif? What would convince them that it is better to let N-League tackle the issues of security and foreign policy? Why won’t they fear that the leaders of the ruling party, who are notorious for being corrupt, selfish and nepotist, will not use these tools to further their own interests? People don’t want army to keep these powers because they believe army uses them to secure its own interests instead of the interests of the people. But army is after all a state institution. At least some of its interests will always coincide with the interests of the state. What about a political party which is owned by a single family? What are the chances that their interests will match the interests of the state? Even after making numerous assumptions, there are no absolute grounds for N-League’s support. There are only two sane choices, either remain neutral or side with the protesters by believing in the known facts instead of making assumptions after assumptions.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Azadi March: Khan's Last Over

Photo Credits: NY Times
Yesterday Imran Khan delivered a speech, after much anticipation, in which he called for a Civil Disobedience Movement. The response across the spectrum of Pakistani public and politicians has been mixed to negative. It was certainly an unexpected development and to most of the people, including Khan’s supporters, it didn’t make much sense. Instead of this bewildering announcement, Imran Khan was expected to announce the resignations of PTI members in the assemblies.

Reportedly, Imran Khan had the resignations in mind but when he discussed it with other PTI leaders before delivering the speech, he was pressurized by them to abandon this approach. The PTI members, mostly those who were in the assemblies, were of the opinion that by resigning they would lose the significance they have as representatives of the people, especially in comparison to the PAT. Afterwards there was a disagreement as to what should be the next step. The option of marching towards the Red Zone was discarded by Imran Khan. The only thing the leadership could come up with was Civil Disobedience, which was originally suggested by Imran Khan and rest of the leaders endorsed it. [1]

Civil Disobedience in this era seems a senseless idea. In the past, such movements were mainly aimed at exerting pressure on colonial powers. Gandhi is seen as a champion of Civil Disobedience, which was characterized at that time as a non violent form of resistance. Such movements not only aim at weakening the writ of the government but are also seen as a threat to the stability of the state because Civil Disobedience is essentially an Anarchist movement. So, in the context of current scenario, this is certainly not a good idea because although the government is allegedly illegitimate yet no one has anything against the state. Besides it is also quite impractical to defy laws without facing the harsh consequences which will not only weaken the PTI but will also debilitate the widespread support it enjoys among the masses.

But despite all the criticism, there are some effects of this announcement which might have been the reason why Imran Khan chose it. Civil Disobedience, being a heavy word in terms of political crisis, has brought the protests in the limelight through international media. It might force the world leaders to take notice of the situation and comment on it, which will immensely increase the pressure on the government. Moreover, this announcement might alarm the IMF which closely monitors the Pakistani economy because it has a stake in it. The only sensible reason for this announcement is probably that Imran Khan wanted to force the outside powers to put pressure on the government by bringing their interests at stake.

Besides, Khan has thrown the ball in Qadri’s court. PAT will have to make the first move as their deadline expires one day before the deadline set by PTI. On one hand it might deliver the first blow to the government, increasing the pressure and raising the probability that the government might capitulate. On the other hand, it will let PTI study the strengths and weaknesses of the government so that they will be able to plan their tactics for the showdown accordingly.

Two questions arise from this situation. Firstly, was there a better option for PTI? Since Imran Khan has been actively involved in politics for more than a decade and he has even more experienced politicians in his party, so assuming that they went for a worse option despite there being a better one doesn’t make much sense. However, some options apparently look better than a Civil Disobedience movement. Keeping in view that the aim was probably to make outside powers take notice of the situation, a massive hunger strike would have done the trick. There are thousands of people gathered at the site of protests. Turning it into a hunger strike camp would certainly have had a strong effect on the international media and the results would have been more favorable for PTI. Civil disobedience has legal consequences, hunger strike has none. Similarly, the public would have instead sympathized with the protesters instead of scorning them as is being done after the announcement of civil disobedience.

Secondly, what is Khan’s next move? The time is running out very fast and the pressure is mainly on his side. Currently PTI is waiting for a positive response from N-League as their deadline expires in a day. But if they didn’t receive a positive response, they will only have some limited options. The first option of course is to avoid further conflict and accept defeat with euphemistic words. This will certainly come at the price of the popularity of PTI and credibility of its leaders. Another option is to march on the Red Zone, as Imran Khan has already threatened. So far it looks like Khan will never go for it. According to some reports the number of policemen deployed for securing the Red Zone is almost equal to the number of protesters themselves. The bloodshed that will ensue will certainly have a detrimental effect on the popularity of the government, but it will come at a cost of many lives and subsequently Imran Khan’s decision will be blamed for it. Before that, Khan might also have to shoot the last arrow in his quiver, the resignations of PTI’s members of assemblies. This will boost support for him but will come at the cost of political power. In any case, there is only a slim chance that the government will fall. Instead of taking any radical step, PTI might resort to negotiations and settle for something less than the resignation of the Prime Minister.