On September 14, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued bailable arrest warrants for Imran Khan in contempt of court case. Since the petition filed by former PTI leader, Akbar S. Babar; Imran Khan has not shown up in court, despite the ECP asking him several times and issuing warnings as well. Imran Khan ignored each and every one of them – he can’t say the warrants were unexpected.

The intriguing thing to notice about this particular case is Imran Khan’s changing narrative. While he was all praise for the Supreme Court (SC) for taking up the Panamagate issue, he refuses to go to court himself and be accountable for the funding of the party. When the leader of a political party, who repeatedly professes to respect institutions of a country and promises to empower them, refuses to present himself when called; it becomes highly hypocritical of him to do so. Everyone in this country can and will be held accountable; you unilaterally declare yourself above the court. That is bad politics – especially for the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaaf (PTI)

The official narrative that PTI has taken after the issuance of the arrest warrants is that the ECP has never initiated contempt of court cases in Pakistan ever. At the same time, the issue is that PTI already submitted its audited documents to the ECP at the time of the 2013 elections. They had a complete report of the funding that the party was receiving. Now when Akbar Babar submitted the petition, it reopens an arena that has already been addressed. PTI does not seem comfortable with that. Hence, they feel that the party is being specifically targeted because the government (i.e. the ruling party) has a lot of influence over such matters – and a few grudges to settle too.

While that may not be beyond the realm of possibility, the right thing to do is to honour the summons of the court; especially when they feel that the party has not indulged in anything wrong. Even if you believe that the verdict will go against you, unfairly even, Imran Khan has to answer the court’s summons and reaffirm his belief in the rule of law. That has been his mantra; he must put the money where his mouth is.

Warrants for Imran’s arrest makes Nawaz Sharif and company seem better in comparison; at least they showed up to court even when the odds were stacked against them and objections on the court’s jurisdiction manifold.