The JIT list, the PTI and PPP

  • Those in the dock have to be heard

After the Sharifs, it is the turn of the Zardaris — the father, the son and the latter’s aunt. The PTI is on the political offensive and the federal government seems to be in a haste.

The 172 put on the ECL in the fake accounts case include prominent PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari, Bilwal Bhutto Zardari, Faryal Talpur, CM Murad Ali Shah, former CM Qaim Ali Shah, two former presidents of NBP and Sindh Bank, former chairman KSE, and top officials of the Omni group. Never in the past was the name of a sitting CM put on the ECL. It is crazy to believe the chief executive of the second largest province of Pakistan would flee.

Whatever the JIT’s charges these are no more than allegations in the eyes of the law. The charges are being used by the PTI as a political weapon to defame the PPP. It is too early to demand Murad Ali Shah’s resignation, as some of the PTI’s lawmakers have done. If allegations were enough to disqualify somebody Imran Khan would not have been the PM today. Irresponsible demands of the sort can lead the opposition to initiate a move to overthrow the federal government which is ruling with a shaky, wafer thin majority. It would be advisable for both sides not to add to the prevailing political uncertainty which is harmful for economic development.

The Sindh PTI’s lawmakers have already filed a petition with the ECP to get Zardari disqualified. They are within their right to do so. The JIT has made serious allegations. The best course now is to let the courts judge the accused. Those in the list have to be given full opportunity to defend themselves at all available legal forums. As Zardari’s counsel too has been included in the list, the former president needs time to appoint a replacement. The institution of 16 inquiries/references against the accused implies that the adjudication of the cases will take longer than desired by PTI’s hotheads. It is however prudent to wait. The final judgment should be accepted by all.