Mr Nawaz Sharif’s GT Road Rally finally ended at Lahore with a hoarse former Prime Minister raving and ranting against the Supreme Court judgment and the five honourable judges, who in their historic decision had shattered the belief that the corrupt, mighty and powerful in the land could never be held accountable.

By the time Mr Sharif reached the Punjab capital, his future course of action had become amply clear. The scarlet thread of PML-N strategy was aimed at mobilising a mass public movement against the disqualification, in order to generate pressure during the hearing of his review petitions and in case of their adverse disposal, incite a rebellious public wave, which could be ridden back to power. The second part of Mian Sahib’s road map envisaged a series of constitutional amendments that could effectively deter the highest judiciary in holding corrupt rulers accountable and do away (or in the least, mutilate) Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution in order to eliminate or dilute their application.

Nawaz Sharif’s continuing rhetoric, which frequently entered the realm of uncontrolled hatred towards institutions that (in his opinion) had ‘did him in’ was a manifestation of someone suffering from delusion and inability to come to terms with harsh reality. The group of advisors now surrounding him appeared to have been quick to spot this vulnerability and moved in to take control.

Mian Sahib’s decision to enter the conflict zone and the contents of his rhetoric at spots, wherever his party successfully managed to assemble a sizeable crowd, could easily be categorised as sedition and incitement of rebellion. To that end, he appeared to be inspired by the Turkish Case Study. What Mr Sharif and his coterie of advisors continue to naively ignore, in their bid to restore their ‘fallen’ chief, is the fact that Pakistan is not Turkey and this goes for the institutions they are hell bent on blaming. Hawkish PML-N cadres are also turning a blind eye to the fact that their ‘blind pursuit’ may aggravate Pakistan’s security situation. They must also be mindful of a notion even now taking root amongst the people that perhaps their actions are inspired by business connections with our traditional adversary.

Political ‘gurus’ held the opinion that the GT Road Rally would be a ‘do or die’ affair for the Sharif family. If this was so, then the exercise must have caused considerable concern to those who are now running the party ‘story board’. Concern should have stemmed from the fact that the show of strength was an abject failure till it reached Jehlum, Gujranwala and Lahore. Even at these places, one could split the crowd into multiple segments – genuine PML-N loyalists who had come of their own accord; those who had been brought there by MNAs and were in all probability paid for their services in terms of cash and free food; those who had come to watch the fun (including the large number of children); random travellers stranded on GT Road because they had foolishly chosen to travel on that particular day and last but not the least, the multitude of plain clothes cum uniformed security people. If one was to apply a suitable mathematical formula removing everyone except the true loyalists, one could perhaps get a true picture of the success or failure of the venture.

No great wisdom is required to conclude that after the rally, the Sharif family’s next big test is the NA-120 by-election, where Mian Sahib has fielded his spouse against PTI’s Dr Yasmeen Rashid. Being a realist, I can say that in this contest, all cards are stacked against Imran Khan’s candidate, unless an electoral miracle manifests itself. Let me hasten to add that these cards include the use of every method (legitimate or otherwise) to win comprehensively.

The current situation and what is likely to happen in the future is a matter of speculative analysis. One thing is however certain, that a conflict with strong state institutions and tampering with the Constitution to ensure a comeback is like playing with fire and inviting dangerous consequences. One can only hope that Mr Nawaz Sharif’s patriotism rises above his need for revenge and ‘business’ interests before he goes too far.