Legal challenges facing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan have begun to mount. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) recently issued a show-cause notice for contempt of court to the cricketer-turned-politician. Setting aside the argument of Imran’s counsel that the ECP is not entitled to start contempt proceedings as the Contempt of Court Act 1976 is not effective in this case, the commission has sought a reply from the PTI leader by August 23. The case against Imran emanates from a contempt notice issued against him by the ECP earlier this year over his remarks about the commission. During hearing of the contempt petition, the ECP took exception to some of the remarks made by the PTI chief (alleging “bias” by ECP for “extraneous reasons, including political”).
That may not be the end of legal troubles for Imran, who is seen as a contender for prime minister when the next general elections are held in the country in 2018. A foreign funding case involving the PTI boss is also being heard by a court in Pakistan. Recently, the judge questioned Imran’s failure to declare a loan as an asset. If the charges are proven, Imran could be disqualified for not declaring a sum that he had received from his former wife, Jemima, as an asset. In a country reeling under recent court pronouncements, one of which even led to the resignation of Nawaz Sharif from the post of prime minister, the latest case seeking the disqualification of Imran and Jahangir Tareen, secretary-general of PTI, for non-disclosure of assets and ownership of offshore companies, may very well set a new precedent in public probity and propriety.