Do you, fellow countrymen, sometimes feel helpless to change what is going on in our beloved country? Do you also sometimes think that our elected governments are (i) moving on the wrong path (ii) not doing enough (iii) acting too slowly or (iv) all of the above? If so, do you feel frustrated? Do not worry. According to statistics many people in the world feel this way about their governments. The wiser ones have however found a solution which is to embrace the "Non-violent path". One option, and which has been used effectively by many, to bring about social or political change is through "violent revolution". The French Revolution is one example where ferocious mob successfully overthrew King Louis XVI's regime and installed France's first Republic. The Russian Revolution which destroyed the Tsarist aristocracy and led to the creation of Soviet Union is another example of victorious use of force by people. The latest example is the Iranian Revolution which overthrew the monarchy of Raza Shah Pahalvi. During and after the revolution there have been massive and large scale killing sometimes in the name of purge and/or to deal with the counter revolutionist. Where there is a political set-up and tools of democracy howsoever weak they may be or as the political scholars have quaint the phrase where there is low density democracy, the process to seek desired action by the government must be through non-violent means. However one may dislike the policies of the government, armed struggles are not the answer. No one should or can advocate that every time a government acts contrary to the wishes of a large number or even majority, people should take up arms against them and overthrow government. In any case the preponderance of insurrections involving violence has either been unsuccessful or has merely resulted in replacing an older despotic regime with a new dictatorial ruler. Many armed struggles, even those based on claims for independence, may not borne fruit. The case of the surrender by Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka being one example. More importantly armed revolution is never alluring, particularly because of the moral revulsion against violence. It is a fact that frustration in governance is growing even in democracy. Parliaments are not seen as effective champions of change because of the extremely slow process and manner in which laws are made. Quite often governments in power have to compromise on many matters with the opposition and before a law is promulgated, it has to go through an endless exercise of debates. By the time laws are passed, the social practices for which it was designed to change get further entrenched. The governments' failure to fix proper priority of dealing with problems that need immediate attention is another source of frustration. One answer is to wait for the next election. But in countries where there is low density democracy even waiting for the next election does not provide a real solution because elections are generally managed or sometimes even rigged. Be as it may whether it is full democracy or low density democracy armed struggle is not the answer. In place of a revolution which generally is violent the answer is in "Soft Revolution". Pakistan has witnessed this phenomenon recently when people from all walks of life continued to protest peacefully, culminating in the long march and eventually succeeded in bringing about the restoration of Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Non-violent action campaigns have not been unknown. They have been used effectively to challenge abuses by authorities and in waging unarmed struggle for rights, eliminating discrimination, and even in overthrowing colonial regimes. The world is witnessing these unarmed struggles as we have seen in the Orange Revolution in Ukraine where nationwide protests, civil disobedience, sit-ins and general strikes resulted in the original run off vote to be annulled, holding of free and fair elections and victory of Yushchenko. In fact since the early 2000 this revolutionary wave of "Colour Revolutions" has become a phenomenon in Central and Easter Europe and Central Asia where non-violent resistance to protest against governments seen as corrupt and authoritarian has been undertaken. These movements have adopted a special colour or flower as their symbol (Siberia adopted the Bulldozer Revolution; Georgia the Rose Revolution; Kyrgyzstan the Tulip Revolution; Velvet Revolution of the Czechoslovakia; the Seeder Revolution in Lebanon for the withdrawal of Syrian troops or the Blue Revolution in Kuwait in support of women suffrage). The key to success of non-violent movements, whether it is the American Revolution in the 1700s when people boycotted British imports and organised committees of correspondence, published pamphlets and newspapers; or the Egyptian Revolution and Irish non-corporation movement of the 1990s; the non corporation movement of Gandhi in the 1920s; Pakistan movement through constitutional means by Muhammad Ali Jinnah; the African-American Civil Rights Movements of 1950s and 60s; the protests against the Vietnam War; the Monday Demonstrations in East Germany; is to win support from the undecided. Where the warfare by PLO could not succeed, the Intefada in Palestine has tilted world opinion in favour of the Palestinians. The South African struggle against Apartheid brought down discriminatory regime in South Africa. With the withdrawal of public support resulted in defeat of Marcos in Philippines. Pakistan falls in the category of low density democracy. Parliaments do come into existence and most of the time through manipulation of elections. Some of the institutions are not adequately functioning. However the election of February 18, 2008 has been accepted as comparatively a fair and independent election resulting in the unanimous election of the prime minister, which in a parliamentary form of government is a rare phenomenon. To my mind Pakistan is a fertile ground for soft revolutions. Soft revolution or non-violent movements use simultaneous multifarious strategies to target the mass of undecided majority. It is this that makes non-violent acts extremely powerful actions and ensures success. There is a whole study contained in various publications relating to the tactics for non-violent social change. The tactics include public speeches, letters of opposition or support, declarations, group petitions, human chains, leaflets, communications in newspapers, radio and TV, flags, symbols and paint, haunting officials, projection through dramas and movies, marches and parades, honouring of heroes, public assemblies, withdrawals, walkouts, ostrization of individuals among others. Often one theme can catch imaginations of the people. "No taxation without representation" was the theme that brought the American soft revolution. One of the most effective tactics of this century is building up support through the internet. This technology implied to great advantage by US President Obama, which was perhaps one of the main reasons for his success in winning the US presidential election. As mentioned earlier, the people of Pakistan have also learnt that the power of mass protest. People in the streets are feeling more powerful and groups are beginning to resort to peaceful demonstrations, walks and protests to force governments to take actions. When the chief justice and judges were restored the people of Pakistan rejoiced in the restoration because this was a proof that the government can be made to accede to the public demand through peaceful means. However the movements in Pakistan are still unorganised. What we need is to use the tactics and institutionalise the show of people power. Once Pakistanis realise that their voice, which is currently drowned in the corridors of democracy can be heard and will be effective, this will be a new beginning. These unarmed resistance movements if carried out effectively, are successful because no democratic government wishes to resort to violence to repress a peaceful movement because that creates greater sympathy for the movement. Not knowing what to do, people within the government start disagreeing, and as the movement gathers momentum, the government often gives in to the genuine demands. Sometimes even the officials involved in implementing law and order and security do not take action against the non-violent protests. At the end I shall like to enter an important caveat. The soft revolution must be moral based. It must be ethical and it must concentrate on one issue at one time. Soft revolutions are the fastest way to improve by transforming the bad governance into good governance, by putting revolution on a fast track and thereby avoiding the bloody and violent revolution. The writer is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan E-mail:;