Not that Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri have ever called it peaceful, but have you ever seen a 'peaceful' revolution? Most revolutions are violent, if not bloody. States take decades to recover from a real revolution. And the same stands for a functional democracy. Authoritarianism for Pakistan is a not a type of governance, but a style; one that we have seen in democratic governments. And Imran Khan and Qadri are using the same style of ordering around party workers, throwing televised tantrums and rejecting negotiations with a legitimate government. For Imran it’s the sort of narcissism that will make him say and do whatever it takes to become Prime Minister, and pronto. Qadri, has an agenda to revive Barelvism in Pakistan and is an ideological mouthpiece, much like a messiah.

What Imran and Qadri have going for them is the creation and ownership of a narrative of revolution. The masses want change, not revolution, but revolution sounds grand, final and irreversible. Imran doesn't seem to be opposed to democratic governance, but he is coming across as contemptuous of any setup in which he is not at the top of the triangle. He has not been able to prove that the rigging he alleges took place, changed the outcome of the election. Even if PTI won its four seats it would still be a minority party. Bravado and swagger can only go so far for Imran Khan. The Azadi March will paralyse the country tomorrow and afterwards whether Imran gets his way or not. The Prime Minister will not resign, of this we can be sure. And Imran does not seem the kind of man who will accept a compromise, despite the threat of facing contempt of court following the High Court order of Wednesday evening. The resulting deadlock will have to mediated, possibly by a third party, and it is anybody’s guess who that might be. Should be no surprises there.

This type of upheaval is natural, and people have a right to protest whatever their cause as part of a democratic process. The government as a protector of the people has the duty to ensure that they provide safety for citizens, whether they are PTI or PAT tomorrow. PML-N has fed into the revolution narrative completely and is gracelessly willing to do anything it can to stop the “revolution” as though their heads will be on a spike come August 15th. One hopes the government will show some composure and restraint. As it stands, their moral legitimacy is already teetering on the brink.