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Tuesday June 18, 2024

Confusing politics

On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court approved Imran’s bail petition in the Al-Qadir trust case

By Editorial Board
May 17, 2024
Image released by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) shows former prime minister Imran Khan during his appearance at the Supreme Court on May 16, 2024. —PTI
Image released by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) shows former prime minister Imran Khan during his appearance at the Supreme Court on May 16, 2024. —PTI

PTI founder Imran Khan is one step closer to being allowed out of jail – though that’s one step in a whole number of remaining steps that need to be taken before he is allowed out on bail. On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court approved Imran’s bail petition in the Al-Qadir trust case. The former prime minister has been behind bars since August last year after he was sentenced in the Toshakhana case and subsequently convicted in other cases as well, including the cipher and iddat cases. Due to his conviction in other cases, the former premier will remain incarcerated despite securing relief in the Al-Qadir case. On Thursday, Imran also appeared before the Supreme Court via video link to present his arguments in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendments case. The case – taken up by the SC following the intra-court appeals filed by the federal and provincial governments against the NAB amendments struck down by the apex court – was heard by a five-member SC larger bench headed by Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa.

Imran Khan had wanted to appear in the top court in person to present his arguments, but the court allowed him to defend himself via video link. However, he did not get a chance to speak during the hearing. The SC adjourned the hearing of the case indefinitely and directed that the PTI founder’s appearance via video-link be ensured on the next hearing. This is all to emphasize just how much of a news-maker the former PM still remains. He has the uncanny ability to be away from the public eye. The real issue here though is the political drama the PTI is creating every day. The spectacle seems never-ending.

In this, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s words may not be entirely incorrect. He has described the PTI as “non-political and non-serious”. The PPP head has said that the PTI wants a resolution of personal issues and are claiming to struggle for the supremacy of the Pakistani constitution but “insisting on holding dialogues only with the establishment”. Again, he is not much wrong in this assessment. One day we hear the PTI only wants dialogue with the powers-that-be and not talk to other political parties, then we hear Imran is ready to let go of his ego and talk to all political stakeholders, and then we hear of some confusing pre-talks conditions that some are interpreting as asking for a new election. All these things have further confounded the political quagmire. At a time when the entire country is reeling under an intense heatwave, when it has become extremely difficult for people to foot their electricity and other utility bills, when it is difficult to put a square meal on the table for many, when there is prevalent income disparity on display, the PTI wants more political drama and not end it so that the genuine issues of the public are addressed by the government. It would be better if all political parties, including Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F that is also demanding a new election process, sit together, develop a consensus on the current crisis, make a plan to ensure that the next elections do not become controversial, ensure a free and fair election the next time around, and lead the country out of the mess it is in right now. All these political shenanigans further alienate the people who are struggling to make ends meet.