Imran’s show cause notice | By Rizwan Ghani

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Imran’s show cause notice 

A Larger Bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) has served a contempt of court show-cause notice on PTI Chairman, Imran Khan, following his name-calling of a judge before a charged crowd in Islamabad rally.

The rally was organized in support of Shahbaz Gill. He has been asked to appear before the court on 31 August.

From the remarks during the IHC 23 August court hearing, it seems a comprehensive guideline will be given to settle the issue once for all.

Had Imran criticized the judgment, it would have sent the message and still preserved his freedom of speech.

But he chose otherwise. History of our judiciary is very magnanimous on such contempt cases; however, it is also the job of the judiciary to maintain a balance through one yardstick for all.

Three members of PML were disqualified in the past. There can be no carte blanche for some politicians while there is no protection for others.

Imran has dug the hole for himself by continuing to criticize state institutions despite repeated warnings.

If politicians from other parties did the same, still two wrongs do not make a right.It won’t be a surprise if Imran is also punished.

Is Gill’s case different from other political cases? It is opined that PTI wants to align it with Imran’s cases but it is not so.

Gill’s case is more towards rebellion and revolt. It could be taken as an act of sedition. PTI crossed the limit to test the water. It will not be a surprise if it takes an unintended turn.

The PTI strategy of confrontation has failed. The party should return to Parliament to serve its voters, democracy and democratic institutions.

There is an urgent need for political reconciliation in the country. Politicians should try and win elections with good governance and abandon use of one-page culture in politics.

It will end the unfortunate impression that political parties cannot stay in power without support of the institutions.

It will end conspiracy theories that its start of level playing field for PTI and PML-N. Deal with Britain is not an extradition treaty.

It will only deal with the return of common illegal criminals and migrants. It does not involve any high profile politicians.

Power politics is also in play. By not supporting Imran’s arrest, Zardari has maintained the PPP, PTI alliance.

But he has taken his pound of flesh by delaying local body elections in Sindh. PPP will love PTI to win three seats in the September by-election in Sindh to keep the opposition out.

Similarly, he will play his cards on remaining six seats to get a share in Southern Punjab. PML (N) has yet to come up with a victory strategy after its last defeat.

PTI win in NA 245 is with 16 to 20 percent voter turnout only. It speaks more of public discontentment with democracy and democratic accountability than thumping faith in the winning party.

The timing of the election is also important. Daska exposed PTI appeal in the masses. Like PPP, PML (N) should put its house in order. It should give clear policies on economy, jobs and good governance if it expects to win next elections.

A UN representative statement of lowering political tension in Pakistan is welcome. But the PTI is using the failed UN to make its case.

The PTI should ask the UN to use the same yardstick for America, UK and Europe to stem the rot in their democracy and democratic institutions.

The rest of the world will improve automatically. The fish rots from the head.

Look at the rise of populism and lack of accountability of corrupt political leadership in the West.

Judiciary, democracy and human rights are under siege there. In America, leaders of Jan 6 are still free. The overturning of Roe v.Wade has ended separation of state and church; the very foundation of modern state.

Biden endorsed the jury system in the Rittenhouse verdict freeing a teenager who killed two people and shot another in protest against police for killing George Floyd.

Critical Race Theory exposes bias in the US social system (the criminal justice system, education system, labour market, housing market, and healthcare system).

Experts say racism is embedded in laws, regulations, rules and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race.

In Britain, the PM scraped ministerial code to absolve himself from Partygate accountability. He suspended the British Parliament in 2019. It was martial law by a political dictator which the Supreme Court ruled as unlawful.

But there was no accountability. The UK opposition called a government bill allowing ministers to overturn court rulings as an attack on the judiciary.

Criminal lawyers are protesting in the UK for an increase in wages. Rape victims are failing to get justice under justice delayed is justice denied.

UN Sec Gen Guterres lacked the moral courage to refuse to stand with the UK PM while welcoming Biden in Cop26.

So should have Biden. Under him, UN has failed to bring justice to victims of sexual assaults in its peace missions, implement its AML in Europe and human rights violations in Kashmir, Palestine and the West.

The UN is failing the world. It is not holding the West accountable due to which populism, corruption and state excesses are eating away democracy and democratic institutions.

—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.

 

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