While the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has forwarded the ball in the court of the Pakistan Democratic Movement- (PDM-led) coalition government regarding the fate of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its leadership for their willful concealment and misstatements of funds obtained from sources, calls within the PDM to disqualify Imran Khan and other senior leaders of the PTI have hit the headlines. The PDM leadership may deem it a correct political course to oust their most powerful rival leader, but they should think twice before going ahead with this wrong course of action. This may open a floodgate of such instances and within years, a good number of political parties and their leaders would have the ‘disqualified’ tag only because of bad accountancy or carelessness in following the rules of the Political Parties Act. The PDM government is showing haste in the submission of a reference against PTI chairman Imran Khan and other senior leaders under Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution, the same rule which has already taken the scalp of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Ironically, PDM head Maulana Fazlur Rehman is impatient to make Imran Khan “an example of himself”.
The PDM and PTI leadership should learn lessons from past instances. Their demand to implement the ECP recommendation is correct but they should stop short of calling for the disqualification of political leaders. Moreover, political parties should sit together and work out a strategy to neutralise articles of 62 and 63 of the Constitution. As the PTI is in hot water for now, the traditional revengeful acts have started to set in. The government has decided to the put name of Imran Khan and other PTI leaders on a no-fly list. This is absurd. We remember when the PDM government started off after the success of the no-trust motion against former prime minister Imran Khan, it barred several of PTI leaders from leaving the country. Soon a court verdict frustrated the government’s move and let PTI leaders fly out of the country at their will.Â The government is expected to show maturity and deal with politicians in the political arena. Similarly, a court verdict disqualifying Nawaz Sharif should be revisited.