Imran’s Toshakhana disqualification | By Rizwan Ghani


Imran’s Toshakhana disqualification

IMRAN has been disqualified for “intentionally and deliberately” violating Elections Act 2017, for making a false statement (sic) and incorrect declaration and statement of assets and liabilities for the year 2020-21.

Media reports show a multi-pronged strategy of the PTI against the decision including challenging the decision, protests (law and order pressure tactics) and media.

But Pakistan has also set an example for the world for defending democracy from a similar template of attack in the UK and US. Judiciary should be careful in accepting such cases. ECP is a constitutional set-up.

By accepting the petitions against the decision of a parallel constitutional setup, the judiciary has to walk a fine line of keeping the door of justice open while balancing the rights of the other state institutions instead of bowing to public pressure.

The judgment(s) at the High Court and if needed at the Supreme Court will have to speak for themselves on the touchstone of democracy, accountability and transparency.

Pakistan can learn from a similar template being used in the US and UK to bring a befitting end to such ploys against democracy.

In America, the Department of Justice is yet to decide on 6 January 2021 attack on Capitol Hill.

Trump has politicized Mar-a-Lago case despite sufficient evidence with DoJ (19 Oct 2022, Washington Examiner).

He has agreed for another search of his residence as per CNN while alleging how Bush Sr., Bush Jr, Clinton and Obama took truckloads of public documents with them.

Trump is playing the good cop, bad cop policy of instigating his followers against the State institutions while appearing to be cooperating with the law.

A former White House aide was seen moving boxes before FBI raid (18 October 2022, the Insider).

The law enforcement agency believes that he may have tried to conceal government record.

It prompted the US Supreme Court to deny voiding ruling in the Mar-a-Lago case on 13 Oct 2022.

Pakistan faced the similar situation in Yousaf Raza Gillani case. He was punished but he is back. How documents were stolen in plain view from our embassy.

The alleged roles of Ambassadors, Foreign Office, loss of record from Law Ministry, awarding of medal to the infamous Law Secretary for her alleged dirty work and shameful role of Speaker National Assembly for blocking Gillani’s disqualification forcing Supreme Court to implement the decision.

In UK, despite disqualifications, US-born Boris Johnson is back in leadership race (fines, lies and chaos: a reminder of Boris Johnson’s time as PM, 21 Oct 2022, the Guardian).

Earlier he implemented civil martial law in 2019.

Faced contempt of court on Brexit letter (20 Oct 2019, the Guardian), and tried to bring judicial reforms allowing ministers to overturn court judgments for having more compliant judiciary (6 Dec 2020, the Independent).

It is a mockery of rule of law, judiciary and parliamentary democracy. Party politics has become religious warfare or cult in the UK and US.

Truss protected Johnson from disqualification under party cult in exchange of premiership. Johnson allowed 90 Tory MPs to earn £4M illegally (9 Nov 2021, the Guardian).

A combination of safe seats, FPTP outdated voting system and corrupt MPs has upended UK’s democracy.

Trump is a messianic figure in Qanon Calls (23 Sept 2022 the Politico). Political parties are using this template to stay in power.

Truss blew a hole in the UK’s economy by refusing to get her mini-budget approved and ignored public opinion on foreign policy.

Europe is protesting against the Ukraine War. It raises questions how much power PM can wield (The Tory leadership race is not just a political battle – it’s religious warfare, 21 Oct 2022).

In America, after the Milley incident, US Congress was warned to limit presidential powers or regret it forever (29 Sept 2021, the Saloon).

Truss and Trump show need for cutting powers of politicians in Pakistan. With mala fide changes in Pakistan’s constitution under 18th Amendment, the politicians have outmanoeuvred judiciary, ECP and state.

There can be no democracy without restoring balance of power among Executive, Judiciary and Establishment; Scrapping for-life party heads and dynastic politics, Restoring 4-year term of the parliament; Allowing maximum two terms as PM and member parliament.

Our establishment is obliged to protect state, democracy and public from politicians. Under trichotomy of power, our Constitution envisages Executive, Establishment and Judiciary as equal stakeholders in which Judiciary is superior by virtue of its powers of judicial review.

It is clear from British and American media why it is necessary to cut powers of Executive for having a credible democratic system of check and balance and an independent Judiciary and Establishment.

A handful of politicians imposed failed foreign policy in Europe. It has pushed EU under 700bn debt (21 Oct 2022 First Post).

There is acute shortage of energy. Its prices have increased manifold resulting in mass unemployment and cost of living crisis while judiciary and establishment are unable to defend interests of state and public.

Pakistan can avoid all this by restoring democracy, protecting interests of public and state because(our) politicians will never allow it.

—The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.


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