The modus operandi was a replica of the ‘colour’ revolutions. After an election, the losing side alleged massive corruption and rigging by the winning side. The newly formed government was pressurised at every step along the way and when all else failed, a demonstration was planned to lay siege and wait for the government to fall. In most cases, foreign pressure and internal dynamics forced some among the establishment (military or otherwise) to side with the protestors on the street and eventually the elected government was brought to its knees. This formula was first used in the ‘Yellow Revolution’ that took place in Philippines in 1986. Ferdinand Marcos was elected President of Philippines in 1965 and 1969. He declared Martial Law in 1972, dissolving the Congress and assuming the powers of an autocrat.

He also ordered the arrest of all his opponents including Benigno Aquino, his staunchest critic and opposition candidate for presidency.

Aquino left for the United States due to fear of arrest and torture. In 1983, he decided to return to his native country and work for ouster of Marcos. His plans failed to materialise as he was assassinated at the airport after disembarking from the plane. This led to public outrage and a Judicial Commission was formed to investigate the murder of Aquino. In November 1985, Marcos announced snap elections for Presidency. Aquino’s widow, Corazan Aquino decided to run against the incumbent President. The official results of snap election held in 1986 declared Marcos as the winner but un-official observers declared Mrs. Aquino as the real victor.

Millions of people rose in protest and thronged EDS Avenue (EDSA), heart of Philippines’ capital and seat of the Government. For three days, almost two million Filipinos gathered at the landmark avenue to demand the ouster of Marcos. Some senior generals defected and joined the protestors, tipping the scales in their favour. Marcos fled to Hawaii and Mrs. Aquino took the mantle of Presidency. This movement was called the ‘Yellow Revolution’ because of presence of Yellow Ribbons during the demonstrations that broke out after assassination of Senator Aquino.

In 2003, the ‘Rose Revolution’ took place in Georgia. Following the disintegration of USSR in 1991, Georgia had gained independence but was ruled by Eduard Shevardnadze, a former advisor to Soviet President Gorbachev. Significant opposition had developed against the rule of Mr. Shevardnadze over the years, including defections from his own party and cabinet. The ruling party had suffered a heavy defeat in the local elections held in 2002. In November 2003, parliamentary elections were held in Georgia, pitting the incumbent President against Mikheil Saakashvili. Exit polls indicated a victory for the opposition candidate but official results favoured Mr. Shevardnadze. Within a few days, massive demonstrations against the government started in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia.

On 22nd November, President Shevardnadze tried to open the new session of parliament. Opposition supporters forcibly entered the Parliament alongside Mr. Saakashvili, holding roses in their hands, interrupting the President’s speech and forcing him to flee alongside his bodyguards. He later proclaimed emergency in the country and ordered military and Police to disperse the protestors. However, military units and police officers refused to obey the government and the President had to resign.

The ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine in 2004 bore similarities to this template and resulted in removal of the incumbent President.

In May 2013, parliamentary elections were held in Pakistan. After five years of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government at the federal level, all signs pointed to a change of guard. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan vied for ascendency. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, a civilian government completed its tenure and passed on the reins of government to a care-taker setup. PML-N was expected to do well in the elections due to its popularity in Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab. PTI was expected to win enough seats to play a role as coalition partner. Election results surprised many observers as PML-N swept the stakes and gained enough seats to form a government on its own. PTI gained a majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province and was able to form a coalition government in the state.

Imran Khan alleged massive rigging in PML-N’s favour and demanded re-elections. The PML-N government dangled carrots in shape of promises but nothing substantial came forth. After a year of sloganeering, PTI decided to stage a long march towards Islamabad and to stage a sit-in until its demands were met. They were joined by an unlikely ally in the form of a maverick cleric named Tahir-ul-Qadri whose party Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) had not participated in the elections. It resulted in something known as the ‘June Plan’, which envisaged the storming of the capital and protesting until the government packed up, à la colour revolutions.

Background deals with members of establishment were made beforehand through former spy chiefs. Mr. Qadri was supposed to arrive in Lahore on June 23 to spearhead the moment. The Punjab Government panicked beforehand and attacked his compound guarded by an armed militia of Qadri supporters. As a result, more than a dozen Qadri supporters including women were killed. The ‘revolution’ had found its first martyrs.

In August, Imran Khan led a ‘Long March’ from Lahore to Islamabad. To the dismay of the planners, few people turned up for the actual march. Tahir-ul-Qadri led his supporters to join the march, as a plan B. The sit-in continued for many months and included an attack on the Parliament. Military top-brass summoned the stakeholders to defuse the situation. The ‘revolutionary leaders’ were overjoyed by the military’s intervention but the final push never came. The sit-in became a place of daily entertainment with live music and festive atmosphere. National Media gave prominent coverage to every statement uttered by the leaders of opposition parties. The plan failed because junior military officers refused to take part in another putsch and other opposition parties demonstrated solidarity with the government for the sake of democracy.