The revolution will not be televised because there is none. Instead, the people are witnessing on their television screens a man falling from grace; a symbol of change changing for the worse, promising true democracy while shredding his garb piece by piece, speech by speech, revealing the autocrat beneath. Is this a new Imran, a frustrated, disgruntled man shrinking in stature and mind as mischievous plans fall apart and opponents come together?

Someone who openly orders his supporters – or “tigers” as he aptly describes them considering the job they must perform – to “attack” Police if confronted at checkposts or elsewhere. Someone who gets on top of a container and threatens senior Police officials by name, warning them of dire consequences for actions he deems unfavourable or unfair. Someone becoming his enemy, engaging in forcible ‘liberation’ of arrested party workers, transforming into everything he left home to crusade against. His opponents despise him. His well-wishers – they are many and most of them are not present at the sit-in – pity him. Imran is falling from grace, and no one from within or outside or himself, seems to be able to break this seemingly perpetual fall. The journey of an aspiring reformist is tough one, riddled with hardships and losses which threaten to stop and push back or worse, push off the track. Many a reformists become anarchists, and their fate, more often than not, is defined aptly as a bewildered run into the abyss, with their excellent and idealistic manifestos clenched in their fists, never to be reconciled with the persons holding on to them so dearly. If Imran wants to be Che Guevara, he must declare so. If he claims to be following Gandhi’s or Mandela’s path, his actions must demonstrate such. But what the last thirty days have shown everyone is that he’s neither Che nor Mandela, only Imran. He’s still something, which means he’s not nothing. If he self-destructs, the people will suffer. If he succeeds in what he’s attempting to accomplish by hook or by crook, the people will still ultimately suffer.

Much responsibility rests on saner elements within the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to rescue their leader and their party from the disastrous path it is on. The PTI has promise and potential, seeing which so many flocked towards it hoping for meaningful change. It would be extremely unfortunate if it all goes to waste owing to self-serving and shortsighted politics. More responsibility lies on the Government to engage with the PTI and to sincerely address its issues. It would be the height of naiveté and foolishness if it tries to anatgonise, obliterate or unreasonably reject what’s only fair. Both the Government and the PTI will have to find a way to co-exist and compete within the system. That is, after all, what the people’s mandate suggests.