The Government deserves full marks for its mature and perfect handling of the situation arising out of the PTI-sponsored long march, which turned into a violent event once free hand was given to the party to enter Islamabad as the Government was forced to roll back the security measures it had put in place to ensure safety of the citizens and public and private property.
It is, however, regrettable that the strategy evolved by the administrative machinery to maintain peace and security could not reach to its logical conclusion due to the oxygen provided to the flopped show.
What people of Pakistan witnessed on television screens throughout the day on Wednesday sent some unambiguous messages.
Rana Sanaullah Khan proved his worth and established his reputation as an effective administrator.
Arrangements worked out by him in close coordination with the leadership of Islamabad and Punjab Police bore fruits as no worthwhile untoward incident was reported from any part of the capital or Punjab from morning till evening.
Police force is always criticized for its alleged incapability but the way it tackled the situation sent a reassuring message that it can deliver provided its working is not impeded by outside forces.
Comprehensive arrangements were made to avoid breakdown of the law and order and minimum possible force was used at some places to disburse protestors.
It was also observed by neutral observers that the call for long march and sit-in did not evoke encouraging response from any part of the country.
No doubt, barricades were placed on main roads and highways but PTI workers and supporters did not come out from their homes, not even in KP where PTI has its own government and no obstacles were there to block free movement of people.
This effectively showed that people of Pakistan have rejected the politics of violence and confrontation and rightly so as there was absolutely no justification to create disturbances merely on assumptions and to advance personal agenda.
By all accounts, the long march was an unimpressive event and the lukewarm response of the people confirmed the widely held belief that PTI was the party of social media.
So poor was the show of strength on Wednesday that it wiped out the image that the party had built by organizing impressive rallies and public meetings ever since its ouster from power.
The Supreme Court intervened and tried to play as facilitator of much-needed dialogue and to avoid bloodshed and disturbance to normal life in the backdrop of claims and threats about ‘bloody long march’ and ‘arson’.
It provided face-saving to the party but the way its workers behaved, torched precious trees, metro stations and attacked official vehicles put a seal on justification for elaborate security measures taken by the Federal and Punjab Governments.
The economic conditions of the country are likely to deteriorate further in coming days and weeks especially when the IMF has declined to resume its stalled programme or provide additional money without the Government taking tough measures.
The Government is, however, unlikely to do so until and unless it is assured of its continuity for the remaining period of the National Assembly to reform the system and also provide relief to the poverty and inflation stricken people.
The poor response to the call for the long march is also manifestation of the fact that people are neither interested in confrontation nor they subscribe to the narratives being built by the party for the sake of return to power again.
It is also an indication that the majority of the people is not interested in immediate polls and instead wants peace, security and prosperity.
Otherwise too, PTI leadership must have realized that there is a difference between social media projection and ground popularity and immediate elections are unlikely to benefit the party the way it believes.
PTI has also dented its image and reputation further by violating the orders of the apex court which authorized it to hold peaceful public meeting between G-9 and H-9 sectors of the federal capital but it forced its way to the D-Chowk.
A Government that has shown its administrative muscles by effectively checking the long march is not expected to accept demands of the PTI in a coercive environment.
This was the lesson of 2014 sit-in and history is going to repeat itself if saner voices were not heard.