Pakistan is the latest in a string of countries to make the mistake of believing that outlawing protest will stop the protesting. Pakistan will very quickly learn that outlawing protest in order to prevent rioting against the government is only going to make matters worse, instead of better. Rather than photographs and footage of people protesting the regime, which in and of itself hurts, though is not terminal, the government looks weak and scared. At the same time, either protests will happen, and inevitably end in massive violence due to the fact that protestors know that they will be arrested and so have nothing to lose, or there will be a more concerted campaign of violence conducted clandestinely – generally referred to as terrorism.
Protesting is an essential part of the political protest. The only way of preventing it is by having a willingness to suppress all political dissent violently, as the Chinese did in Tiananmen Square. Anything else is likely to allow anti-government to fester, and it will find a way to express itself.
One can only hope that the Pakistani Government will come to their senses, and undo the arrests and bans of the past few days. If they do not, history proves that violence is inevitable, particularly in a country very familiar with the application of violence in politics.