The PTI did not have to lockdown Islamabad; the government did it for them. The moat of containers around the city are the stuff of urban nightmares for any commuter or protestor, and the PTI has been able to get a lot of traction on the airwaves because of the government’s repressive actions on Monday. What could have been a moral high ground for the ruling party, the benevolent allowance of a peaceful but ill-conceived protest, has been ceded to the PTI, compounded by the unexplained police detention of PTI leaders Arif Alvi and Imran Ismail.

Footage from around Bani Gala made the area seem like a war zone on Monday. In this melee, the capital city police claimed to have recovered bulletproof vests, two SMGs, a teargas firing gun, a handgun, bullets as well as a bottle of liquor from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Revenue Ali Amin Gandapur, whose fiery statement after went viral on social media.

The number of people detained goes into triple digits. Reports suggest that Bhara Kahu police had 120 PTI workers in their custody. The number of people arrested since Sunday is anywhere between 152 and 300. The police said the arrests were made for violation of the ban on rallies and gatherings under Section 144. How long will these people languish in cells? Even if the government can disperse crowds on November 2, what about November 3, 4 and 5? The 2014 dharna went on for months. Pushed to their limits, PTI will not go down without a hearty fight. The smiling selfie of Arif Alvi and Imran Ismail in police custody circulating on twitter shows that PTI is ready for any action the government wishes to take.

The sad fact is that even with the arrests and containers it is the common man who suffers. PTI’s top echelons aren’t sitting in cells. Though police did not allow ordinary party workers to reach Khan’s residence, there was no such bar on party leaders who were allowed entry into Bani Gala for most of the day. While arrests are being made under Section 144 to give the government some cover for its repression, blocking the movement of citizens by blocking highways is unlawful and unconstitutional. Does the law not apply to the government itself?

Just one day before the planned lockdown, the PML-N has closed all doors for itself and had itself painted as a villain. For the public viewing the events of Monday, Imran Khan’s statements are ringing true – the party rules like it has no one to answer to. However, times have changed, and answers must be given for everything, from security lapses to hidden money and corruption.