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Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Pakistan - PTI is beginning to sound a lot like PML-N
Along with its bigger and more infamous sister, another case is also slowly working its way through the legal system. While the Sharif family is being investigated by the Supreme Court and the Joint Investigation Commission (JIT) for financial impropriety in while in office, Imran Khan – and through him Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) – is being probed by the Election Commission of Pakistan for irregularities with party contributions - both cases are inherently political in nature. Unwittingly perhaps, the subjects of the ECP case are now also beginning to sound like their supposed opposites, the Sharif family.
While submitting a reply before the ECP the PTI said that body has no jurisdiction to entertain complaints under the Political Parties Order 2002 and the public at large cannot approach it with a complaint under the PPO. To further drive in the point the reply further states that the ECP cannot conduct a fair inquiry because of its impartiality and bias against PTI.
With these statements the PTI is beginning to sound a lot like PML-N, or specifically the pack of dedicated supporters of the Sharif family in their ranks; “jurisdiction” and “impartiality” are their buzzwords. While there are nuggets of truth in the PTI reply – both from the legal and impartiality aspect – in political cases such as this, conduct counts more than argumentative conduct. Imran Khan and his party have been constantly berating the ruling party for closing ranks to protect their leader and dodging the proper application of justice. Asking the Prime Minister to comply with the courts directions and face the consequences with dignity has been the party’s favorite comment to make.
The fact is that the law on ECP’s jurisdiction remains unclear; while given the authority to probe party finances it is not a court of first instance. As such this question will become clear when and if the matter reaches the Supreme Court. While there is no doubt that the PTI is being probed more than the others, it serves little purpose to make it a centre of one’s defense.
Being slapped with a politically motivated, semi-retributory investigation by the ECP had provided Imran Khan the golden opportunity to show how a proper leader would behave in such circumstances. Here he could contrast himself with the Sharifs by opening himself to accountability. While he begrudgingly has, this talk of impartiality and jurisdiction has robbed him from the gravitas he could have accumulated. Imran Khan would do well to heed his own advice in the matter; “comply to the court and accept the consequences with dignity and grace.”