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A wise move: Charges against Imran Khan dropped

August 30, 2013

A QUICK end to the Imran Khan-contempt of court issue was in everyone’s interest and, thankfully, that’s exactly what happened in the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Lessons, if either side is willing, are there to be learned. For the court, this was an utterly unnecessary and thoroughly inadvisable foray into the political arena. That the court itself seemed to consider a single word — the now much parsed sharamnaak — to be the bedrock of potential contempt of court charges was a widening of the principle of contempt at the same time as the judicial world at large is narrowing it to very specific cases of disrupting courtroom proceedings or refusing to obey a court order. The majesty of the court comes not from its ability to suppress public dissent, but from the quality of its judgements. Dragging national political leaders before the superior judiciary to potentially face charges that are controversial and divisive is not really in the best interests of the judiciary, and the country at large.

For Imran Khan and the PTI, perhaps the time has come to accept the electorate’s judgement rather than endlessly harping on perceived biases in the electoral process. Even the recently held by-elections saw the PTI leadership getting embroiled in allegations against other parties of vote rigging and ballot stuffing. To be sure, the electoral process in Pakistan is more credible and acceptable than truly free and fair. But the PTI’s complaints increasingly seem to come down to this: ‘if we win, the electorate’s will has been realised; if we lose, decisive foul play must be involved.’ This does not behoove a party which now has a proven national vote bank and can legitimately look towards future elections with hope. More governance, less politics, please.