Egypt seems to be suffering not just turmoil, but in repeated convulsions. The Arab Spring led to the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, easily the most powerful Arab ruler to fall victim during it, but the elections after that led to Muhammad Morsi of the Ikhwanul Muslimeen being elected President a year ago. President Morsi’s government, faced criticism and was unable to consolidate its hold. Not long after his installation, he was overthrown by the Egyptian army. His departure has been resisted, to the extent that those protesters killed over the weekend in Cairo and Alexandria now have crossed 180, but protesters have vowed to continue the protests till Morsi is restored.

That might well mean dragging the country into further bloodshed, and continuing the clash between the armed forces and the people. US Secretary of State John Kerry has called on the Egyptian armed forces to respect the right of the people to assemble and express their opinion. However, neither he nor any other American official has spoken so forthrightly about the need for the armed forces to respect the mandate of the government.

Meanwhile, European Union Foreign Affairs Commissioner Catherine Ashton will visit Egypt for talks, according to a Presidency spokesman.

One of the more disturbing aspects of the bloodshed in Egypt is the law enforcing agencies’ intentions, which seem to be to shoot to kill, rather than merely to disperse. As observed, those shot dead so far have been injured in the face, head and chest. This will mean further proliferation of casualties, which in turn means that the Egyptian High Command is absolutely determined to suppress Morsi’s supporters, to the extent that it is ready to risk the mutiny that always lurks whenever troops are ordered to fire on their fellow citizens.

The Egyptian people, and their armed forces, have embarked on a very difficult journey. Not only must parties learn that they must play by the rules, but the people must learn to accept election results, and the armed forces must learn the lesson of obedience to popularly chosen authority.

Pakistan cannot play much of a role in the situation, but it must ensure that its diplomats play a positive role in encouraging tolerance and patience. It should also be willing to extend a helping hand and build whatever institutions are possible, if asked. Pakistan’s experience of civil-military relations may be both interesting and useful.