Contrary to all expectations, the political drama on constitution avenue crossed the one month mark on 14th September and continues indefinitely. It might be safe to say that neither the bemused public, nor the protagonists on containers, nor their targets in the corridors of power could have imagined it to be possible for it to drag on for so long. But the best part is the script writers who were caught with their pants down appear to be in shell shock as well – they certainly could not have imagined the actors capable of running away with the script to transform the theatre into the Lucky Pakistani Circus.

Whatever has unfolded before us all, thanks to the vibrant and ‘independent’ media’s obsession with 24/7 coverage of the absurd, is as transparent as it is opaque. The media’s obsession with lunatics, terrorists, demagogues and the like, be they of the ilk of the Constitution Avenue gunman Mohammed Sikander, or be they kaptaans and clerics hell bent upon bringing revolutions and freedoms, has done one thing for sure: it has helped unveil the mystery to most of the populace.

Take the Khanists and Khanistas for example, who, till two weeks ago would not stop themselves crying hoarse telling everyone their leader was not dancing to the military’s tune. The flood of information, however, has had them changing their own tunes. They now say, ‘So what? Anything (meaning direct or indirect rule by the army) would be better than —-! In the blanks you may fill any one of the PTI supporters’ various choice epithets: lootacracy, baadshahat (monarchy), ganja (bald), murderers, rapists, etc. Alas, they do not feign democratic values or aspirations any more – like their leader, they are happy to avow fingers of umpires. A friend hilariously lampooned Insafian logic thus: “Gotta go to work even on Sunday. Laanat aisee jamhooriat par (to hell with such democracy).”

One doesn’t quite know which proverbial emperor without clothes is more pitiable at this juncture: the umpire with the script, Mr. Khan or his followers – all gaily de-trousered by Javed Hashmi on September 1st.

But the roller coaster of the last one month belies another matter. Though the script writers are reduced to public denials of ever having seen any pen or paper, leave alone having touched such blasphemous instruments, there is the matter of their man behind the enemy lines and the own goals the PMLN government ostensibly continues to score.

Consider: Clear skies and calm seas in June 2014, with the government coasting as any government might dream to. And suddenly on the 17th of the month, the government decides to shoot itself in the foot and opens fire on Tahir-ul-Qadri’s people to kill twelve and injure over eighty people. I myself called for the resignation of the Chief Minister. However, it is another matter that senior government ministers swear, ‘sadday naal te Murtaza Bhutto ho gaya (they’ve pulled a Murtaza Bhutto on us)’ – it is the stuff swearing upon lives and terrified whispers are made of.

Next, more than two months down the line, when the government is fighting the existential battle of its life, the federal interior minister comes up with the bright idea of inviting the army to ‘facilitate’ negotiations with the jacks-in-containers and executes a brilliant snatching of defeat from the jaws of success, with the Prime Minister looking first like a fool and then a liar. Mr. Interior Minister, however, comes out smelling of roses having piled all the responsibility on the Prime Minister. The military is quick to disgrace the Prime Minister with a statement making him out to be a liar. Chaudhry Nisar and military: 1, PMLN: 0. The brilliance of this ignominous ‘win’ came after the entire parliament, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, stood behind the elected government in the face of a fierce onslaught characterised by not one, but two containers and several ISPR Tweets.

Mercifully, however, Javed Hashmi, President of PTI – no less, came along and told the nation of how decision making was done in the PTI container and what Mr. Imran Khan told his executive committee: that PTI could not move without the army, that those with ‘badges’ had directed the PTI to move in sync with the PAT, that a phone call conveyed to Khan by the notorious Sheikh Rashid triggered the decision to storm the parliament and the prime minister’s house – against the advice of the entire committee.

And lo! It seemed democracy was saved, yet again thanks to Mr. Hashmi. But the Interior Minister of the government struck again: on the occasion of a joint sitting of the parliament - otherwise focused on saving democracy and parliament - he picked a fight with the leader of the opposition; a fight that threatened to rip asunder the unity of the parliament. Indeed, the scenes inside the House were enough to bring gleeful supporters of PAT back into the lawns of the parliament building – they thought they had smelt blood. It was beyond belief. The PPP which had been instrumental in saving the backside of the government, was being insulted and goaded into betrayal. An entire article can be written on the tug-of-war between the PM and the Interior Minister in that session when the PM barely succeeded in reigning in the minister.

Fast forward to day before yesterday – mid September: the sit-ins had lost steam, scripts and script-writers were scurrying for cover, negotiations between containers and government were making steady progress with TOR’s of the judicial commission being worked out. Suddenly, after an entire month of showing (forced) patience, the government cracked down on PTI supporters and began to arrest them willy nilly. It was a study in stab-in-the-backerism.

The government has a duty to maintain peace, security and stability. And at any other time, it would be unremarkable if the government arrested hooligans that had attacked television stations, policemen or state buildings. But in this instance the government had not acted for weeks to restore order, to fulfill its constitutional duty. What spurred it to do so when it was so close to a political solution?

Only the Interior Minister would know. And only the Prime Minister is not twice shy. Or thrice shy. Or fourth time shy.

The writer is a human rights worker and freelance columnist.