The government is still carrying on with its spree of arresting the politicians, those from the opposition benches. Some of the foremost leaders of the two main political parties, i.e., Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) are behind bars under an anti-corruption drive. This time, the noose of arrest has found the neck of Khursheed Shah, who belongs to the PPP.

With Shah’s arrest, the list of the arrested opposition leaders has elongated further. Considering the list of the detained politicians, it seems that the government believes in political victimisation of its opponents. And the fear that the government does not want any kind of opposition to its rule gained further weight after the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar did not issue the production orders for various leaders to attend the session. The protest of the opposition parties outside Parliament House in this regard is not a political stunt. The demonstration of the opposition leaders exposes the government’s desire to govern the country without any opposition to its rule.

However, the incumbent government of PTI, perhaps, forgets that at the heart of production order is the right of the people, who elect a lawmaker, to represent them in the legislature. The speaker’s failure to issue production orders of the arrested politicians is a violation of one of the democratic principles – that until a court disqualifies an elected representative, s/he cannot be denied the right to represent their constituents. The office of speaker demands from the speaker to act in a non-partisan manner. However, Asad Qasiar while failing to issue production orders was unable to maintain the protocols of his office.

Furthermore, it is essential to ask whether the government’s anti-corruption drive is a populist move or not? It is one. While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government is facing myriad challenges both on the domestic and foreign front, the party’s leadership is busy in arresting political opponents. Why? Because the incumbent party’s central election slogan was the elimination of corruption. And people did fall for this narrative.

But is the government serious in uprooting this menace? Perhaps not, for the ruling party’s deliberate delay in arresting the ones involved in grand scale corruption in Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project exposes the real motives of the government’s anti-corruption drive. The fact that the government has swept the BRT scandal under the carpet shows that the government is using its anti-corruption drive to crush the opposition.