THE potential for a perceived partisan accountability process to escalate into a full-blown national political crisis has been vividly highlighted by competing statements from the PTI and PPP camps.

Seizing on the Supreme Court-ordered JIT report on the so-called fake accounts case and the inclusion of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Shah in the list of suspects in that case, the PTI federal government appeared enthusiastic to test the political waters in Sindh and perhaps try and dislodge the PPP provincial government.

The JIT report is incriminating but as the Supreme Court itself has clarified it is only a report at this stage — a long legal process lies ahead before the guilt or innocence of individuals implicated in the fake-accounts racket can be established.

An overenthusiastic and perhaps naïve PTI leadership appears to have mistakenly believed that political upheaval in Sindh was imminent.

To the PTI’s misbegotten abortive plan, the PPP has added its own attempt at muddying the political waters. Speaking to the media, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has claimed that if Asif Zardari signalled the willingness to do so, the PPP could oust the fragile PTI-led coalition at the centre.

Mr Bhutto-Zardari’s comments may be more bombast than a genuine threat, but they are an indication of the precariousness of the political landscape at the moment.

As the governing party at the centre and in two provinces with a share of government in a third province, the PTI must surely give greater consideration to the constitutional and political responsibilities that it now shoulders.

The willingness of the PTI to consider and put into motion a plan to oust a provincial government run by the third-largest political party in the country threatens to drag Pakistan politically backwards. The making and breaking of governments, potentially with the help of anti-democratic forces in the country, is a dangerous phenomenon that should have been left behind.

The PTI leadership may be in a hurry to deliver on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise to make the fight against corruption the core of his governance strategy, but meaningful and durable accountability are premised on fairness and due process.

Only recently, Mr Khan finally agreed to abide by the parliamentary norm of installing the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

Shahbaz Sharif remains in NAB custody. So why must Chief Minister Shah resign or risk being pushed out by the PTI simply on the basis of a JIT report that has not been scrutinised by the courts or the accused?

The PTI has been unable to justify its stance either politically or legally. Where the PTI has erred, the PPP should avoid following suit.

Threatening to work to overthrow the federal government only lends credence to a perception that the PPP is opposed to any form of accountability.

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2019

Opinion

Fear and abuse
Updated 23 Jun 2021

Fear and abuse

Paedophiles and sexual abusers are present in many professions but clerical sexual abuse is of a particularly egregious character.
Diplomatic blundering
Updated 23 Jun 2021

Diplomatic blundering

Foreign policy is too serious a matter to be left to an individual’s political ambitions.
Loss of homes
22 Jun 2021

Loss of homes

For the vulnerable, a shelter is much more than a dwelling.

Editorial

PM’s views on rape
Updated 23 Jun 2021

PM’s views on rape

Rape is a crime primarily of power rather than lust, rooted in a contempt for others’ bodily integrity.
23 Jun 2021

Gas concerns

CONSUMERS face the prospect of ominous blackouts next month owing to the closure of two gas fields in Sindh, the ...
23 Jun 2021

New Iranian president

SAYYID Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s new president, is taking over at a time of great geopolitical flux, while the Islamic...
Describing OBL
22 Jun 2021

Describing OBL

FM Qureshi’s non-committal reply to question about Osama being a terrorist or a martyr has sent the wrong message to the world.
22 Jun 2021

A neglected sector

THE PTI legislators joined forces with opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly the other day to take their own...
22 Jun 2021

Air safari

THE resumption of PIA’s air safari flights to Skardu will hopefully attract international and domestic tourists,...