Jumping the Gun


The Election Commission of Pakistan may have taken its sweet time in delivering the verdict in the PTI’s prohibited funding case, but the government seems to be jumping the gun, so to speak, in what seems a case of letting revenge politics, which is typical of our landscape, get the better of it.
True, it can claim some sort of extended right to go for the jugular immediately, but it will still have to indulge in considerably difficult legal acrobatics to justify it. And when the courts are clearly in no mood for any horseplay whatsoever, it also risks losing the initiative just when it should look to build it. The PTI’s decision to approach the Supreme Judicial Council for the removal of the Chief Election Commissioner complicates matters a great deal, of course, but that only underscores why it is extremely important not to fiddle with the due process anymore at this point. Everyone must wait and see how the PTI replies to the show-cause notice and what the ECP then decides.
If the Commission is not satisfied with the reply– which is very likely considering PTI’s outright rejection of all charges framed against it as well as people who framed them– and recommends that the government moves to the courts, then PML-N and its allies would have the kind of ammunition they will need to win this battle on the legal front; which is the only front that will count now. Any sooner, they will only expose themselves to charges of political victimisation in the long run.
They will also set a very bad precedent that may well come to bite them in the not-too-distant future. For, nothing about the prohibited or foreign funding phenomenon is settled yet; far from it. And sooner or later the spotlight, as well as ECP’s prying eyes, will also come to focus on funds received by other parties as well; most of whom are in power at the moment.
The ruling coalition must pause and think, for its naked interests as much as the sanctity of the due process, and not give in to the urge to go about banning the PTI in a rush.