With a little over two weeks left till independence day, Imran Khan is gearing up for what he claims will be his biggest rally to date. The PML-N has not responded to his call for a complete audit of the May 2013 elections, and the PTI is not likely to deter from its path; it is too late for them to reconsider their strategy without losing face and credibility, and the presence of troops in the capital starting August has increased political anxiety.

The government on the other hand, cannot afford to get its hands dirty after the Model Town tragedy, which continues to haunt it. Using the police to disperse protesters no longer remains an option, because there is absolutely no margin for error. By using article 245 to deploy the army in Islamabad, the PML-N has shifted the burden of security (and responsibility) to the army, and tried to distance itself from the whole affair. Working in their favour, the ex-Chief Justice’s personal concerns about his reputation against Imran Khan allow the government to sit back, enjoying the distance, while he argues the case for them.

The only thing for certain, is that no one is looking like a hero this independence day, at least from where the public is standing. The PML-N will be chagrined for its spinelessness and hiding behind the army when the country needed a rebuttal to the PTI’s claims. The PTI is being criticised for telling others how to do their jobs when it has neglected its enormous responsibilities in KPK. The army, if it establishes control over Islamabad’s security at the behest of the PMLN, might have to clash with PTI workers. If the army looks the other way, then its inaction will be seen as a sign of ill-will towards the government, an idea it has worked hard to dismiss over the past year.

Imran Khan, the great entertainer, has promised to divulge all the rigging 2013 secrets at the rally itself, not before. But will the air of mystique be enough to entice millions to emerge from their homes, as he hopes. Not that anybody really knows what he hopes. Apart from the top seat, what are the PTI chairman’s hopes and dreams for the rally? There is a huge amount of distance between electoral reform and the overthrow of government. As we wait for August 14th, equating the two is leading to much ambiguity, and political heartburn.