It was widely predicted, even before it was delivered, that the Election Commission of Pakistan verdict in the prohibited funding case would cause a host of legal difficulties for PTI chief Imran Khan. It seems Mr Khan thought so too, for he did his best to delay the verdict, and to besmirch the reputation of the Chief Election Commissioner. A symbol of those troubles is the summons to him for August 23
To explain why the foreign funding should not be confiscated. Apart from the reference, he has also been summoned on August 18 and August 24 in connection with references seeking his disqualification.
However, the summons issued by the FIA to leading PTI leaders represents an expansion of the investigation into what might be described as the criminal side of the investigation. Sindh and KP Governors Imran Ismail and Shah Farman, former National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Punjab Minister Mahmood ur Rasheed, have all been summoned in connection with the case. The ECP had found that these PTI stalwarts had operated party accounts which had not been declared by the PTI, and which online came to light when the ECP=appointed scrutiny committee investigated the records available with the State Bank of Pakistan. There is already a succession struggle within the PTI, based on the assumption that Mr Khan is disqualified, but the party not banned.
The FIA had already summoned and deposed three PTI employees, through whose accounts vast sums had passed The Shehbaz government which had suffered a lot of PTI obloquy because of Maqsud the Peon, who died recently in Dubai, may have revenged itself for the persecution in the money laundering case. Former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry has riposted by expressing the hope that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza will appear on September 6 for the indictment in the money-laundering case. It is a given that the law applies to all. Mr Chaudhry’s argument, that no one dare disqualify a popular leader like Mr Khandoes not really wash, for the law is supposed to apply to all irrespective of stature. That Mr Chaudhry and other PTI stalwarts choose to make this argument indicates that they are willing to concede that Mr Khan was caught fair and square by the ECP. At the moment, all PTI stalwarts, including those who have clear consciences, for the governing coalition seems determined to use the ECP verdict to treat the PTI much as it was treated itself by the PTI. This is not mere revenge, but good politics. If the PTI called its opponents thieves and dacoits, then if those opponents can call the PTI thieves and dacoits, they will not let the opportunity go.