It seems Wajihuddin Ahmed is fast becoming the new Javed Hashmi for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf; a respected veteran that is being ostracised for trying to make the party a democratic and accountable institution. From being the party’s candidate for the presidential election of 2013 to being labelled “mentally unstable” by party ranks; Justice Wajihuddin’s story – just like Javed Hashmi’s – is a stark reminder of the fate that is to befall anyone who challenges the edicts of Imran Khan.

On Tuesday, an intra-party tribunal headed by Wajihuddin Ahmed, the retired Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, set up to investigate rigging in PTI’s intra-party polls ordered the expulsion of senior leaders Jehangir Tareen and Nadir Khan Leghari from the party for manipulating the polls that were held before the 2013 general election. Also in the line of fire were Pervaiz Khattak, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, and ex-Lahore party chief Aleem Khan, both of whom were ordered to be stripped from office and barred from re-entry into the party. To this PTI contends that the tribunal was disbanded by party chairman, Imran Khan in the month of April, and thus the order holds no weight, and they are right. According to the standards of the PTI’s “democratic” party charter – in which the chairman holds unfettered and unlimited power to override and reverse any decision – the contention is correct; PTI members are not bound by the decision, and Wajihuddin can be safely considered a rouge judge. But according to the democratic pretensions of the party and by the notions of accountability and due process that Imran Khan has so often advocated; the whole saga sinks the myth of PTI’s democratic nature and shows Imran Khan to be the antithesis of what he purports to be – an autocratic dictator.

Wajihuddin’s tribunal was not disbanded when he concluded his judgement and ordered immediate re-elections – since massive irregularities were unearthed in the intra-party polls – his tribunal was disbanded when it summoned Imran Khan to answer why new elections haven’t taken place yet. Not only does this show the fact that Imran Khan wilfully chooses to ignore corruption in party ranks, it also shows how he reacts to dissent; effectively silencing it. What legitimacy remains in his pursuit of a favourable Judicial Commission verdict? In one go he has demolished the whole narrative he painstakingly built during the dharna – with the talk of stolen mandates and accountability – shooting his already shaky credibility in the foot. With his own house in disarray, what legitimacy does he have to preach reform to others? More shameful is the reaction of the PTI’s social media contagion, which spent no time in demonising Wajihuddin and accusing him of conspiring with the PML-N; who, incidentally, only a few months ago was a paragon of integrity and living proof of PTI’s honest foundations. Day by day, PTI is being joined by opportunistic electables, while politicians of merit are being chased out for daring to disagree with the mighty Khan.