The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has disqualified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and MNA from Mianwali, Imran Khan, for the ongoing term of the National Assembly. The former prime minister is no longer a member of parliament. The verdict has come in the Toshakhana case. The ECP has declared his seat to be vacant and it disqualified him on the grounds of providing false information.
As per the Toshakhana rules, gifts received by ministers, bureaucrats, and other government or state representatives must be reported to the Cabinet Division. These gifts are deposited into the Toshakhana and the person who has received the gift can buy it at the market value if they want it. The gifts are given to the state and not the representative, so it is unlawful for the people to keep them. While in government, PTI members did not disclose details of many of the gifts received by Imran Khan. In their opinion, disclosing the gifts would prove to be an obstacle to maintaining good ties with other states. However, this argument is completely flawed as it goes against the established rules and no one is above that. The PTI was expecting the ECP to rule against the former premier. Therefore, they sent out messages to their party workers and supporters to mobilize once the decision was announced. The government also had an idea that mutiny could occur, therefore, the police force was activated in Islamabad and the twin cities were put on Red Alert.
During the earlier PML-N government, when then-premier Nawaz Sharif was disqualified, the PTI celebrated this political win. This time around, it is the PML-N’s turn to celebrate. These people and parties play on the political field to downgrade each other and each one of them gets one win or another from time to time. Khan has been disqualified, but he still has the power to mobilize the public and lead them to mutiny. The government, on the other hand, uses the police force to dismantle the crowds with the use of tear gas and shelling, which later leads to injuries and deaths, portraying the government as an evil force. During PTI’s time, it was the Pakistan Democratic Movement that brought out large crowds to destabilize the government. Now, when they are in power, the PTI is using the same tactics.
Pakistani politics has turned into a circus. Today it is Khan’s disqualification; tomorrow it will be something else. Pakistan will, however, keep suffering due to poor economic policies and instability in the markets due to political problems. Each citizen can form their own opinion on this case, and many of them have passed and many that will come sooner or later. However, the destabilization that all of this is causing will have lasting effects on Pakistan and its people.
Leaders who truly care for Pakistan must accept their defeat and work towards becoming better and taking actions that will have negative consequences in the future. Going to court and challenging the decision is every citizen’s basic human right, and if Khan thinks the decision is wrong, he should most definitely go to the Islamabad High Court or the Supreme Court, whatever his lawyers advise him. However, he should not mobilize his supporters against the government, as that will only cause instability in an already unstable country. It is time for everyone to work in Pakistan by putting behind personal grudges. The ECP, meanwhile, should come clean. It should issue the detailed verdict immediately so that the PTI could approach superior courts at the earliest. Right now, the ECP has not issued the verdict on the pretext of the absence of an election commission member.