Finally the judicial commission gets rolling – after long months of deliberation and delay – and it’s PTI’s turn to disappoint. It is surprising, to say the least, that the party submitted what the commission called ‘generalised statements’ and had to be asked instead to present detailed evidence. Hafeez Pirzada’s statement, that the party had thousands of documents to prove rigging, is also quite surprising, not the least because the PTI counsel – because of his vast experience – was expected to bring those documents to court instead of leaving them behind. That the commission has 45 days to complete its proceeding – and Imran wouldn’t play along if it weren’t time barred – makes such problems all the more bothersome.
The scope of PTI’s allegations means much drama is in store for the next month or so. Pushing the commission through after the government’s unending delaying tactics was, of course, a remarkable achievement. Finally there is a genuine opportunity to end the practice of fraudulent elections once and for all, which sets an admirable precedent. But if the path to the commission was hard, what awaits PTI will test its abilities even further. It must now provide incontrovertible evidence to back its wide range of charges against a long list of parties and personalities. So the punctures and match fixing, etc, must now be proved beyond doubt.
And that, again, is where the commission’s beginning has caught PTI on the wrong foot. The party was expected to attack right at the beginning with its ‘overwhelming proof’. Instead it seems much of the homework is still not done. That explains the party’s long huddle going into the weekend. Hopefully it will come better prepared next time. If the opportunity to back its rhetoric with a touch of reality is missed, PTI will have only itself to blame.