Ball now in PTI’s court

Following May 9 incidents, PTI lost political ground, and many of its workers and supporters remain behind bars

Hasnat Malik June 07, 2024
PTI moves Supreme Court against February 8 election rigging PHOTO: EXPRESS


As Supreme Court judges urge former Prime Minister Imran Khan to negotiate with political leaders to resolve issues, the ball is now in the PTI’s court.

This is not the first time the SC has pushed for political dialogue. A similar effort was made during the term of former Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial when talks were held between the PTI and the PDM-led government on holding general elections.

However, those talks failed due to PTI’s rigid stance on holding elections during Justice Bandial’s tenure, while the PDM-led government preferred to wait until after his retirement.

Following the May 9 incidents, the PTI lost political ground, and many of its workers and supporters remain behind bars. However, the February 8 elections marked a turning point, as all stakeholders now agree that PTI is a significant political entity. On Thursday, the bench allowed Imran Khan, who is detained at Adiala Jail, to participate in the judicial proceedings via video link.

During the proceeding, the bench consistently urged Imran to start a dialogue with political leaders. The PTI founder, however, remained silent. At one point, he questioned how a parliament created on the basis of Form 47 could be representative of the people.

A PTI leader remarked that the government itself is not interested in dialogue. The PML-N leadership is reportedly reluctant to engage in dialogue, preferring the tension between the PTI and the establishment to continue.

It remains to be seen whether the PTI leadership will take the Chief Justice’s advice seriously. There was a form of dialogue between Imran Khan and the five SC judges, especially Chief Justice of Pakistan Qazi Faez Isa, during the hearing. CJ Isa urged Imran Khan to sit with parliamentarians.

“Go to parliament; talk with parliamentarians and solve the problems,” he said.

Imran Khan expressed that the Supreme Court is the only hope for the country, citing an “undeclared martial law.” He suggested that the chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should be appointed by the SC.

However, the judges consistently told him that NAB could only be improved through parliament. Justice Athar Minallah also told Khan that democracy suffers due to undue interference by the apex court. Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail wondered why politicians could not sit and resolve the issues.

Justice Hasan Azhar Rizvi asked Imran Khan why his party left the parliament after a no-confidence motion resulted in the ouster of his government. Imran agreed that the PTI should not have left the parliament at that time but also referred to an alleged international conspiracy for his removal.

The bench urged him to refrain from referring to the cypher case—in which he was acquitted last week—as an appeal may be filed in the SC against the Islamabad High Court order.


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