Imran Khan’s fight for justice and against corruption may just have the unintended consequence of disqualifying him from public office. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leader, in the quest of using Article 62 and 63 to disqualify the Prime Minister, may have created a benchmark that is too difficult to surmount – even for him

In an ironic twist of fate, Supreme Court of Pakistan Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday said that there are holes in the money trail of Imran Khan’s Bani Gala house. The judges noted discrepancies in price of sale of his apartment and of that listed in his tax amnesty scheme and asked Imran to attach receipts of the transactions that prove that the PTI chief borrowed money from Jemima. Though the case has been adjourned for now, recent hearings show that the party which also emphasized financial transparency is having doubt cast on its own murky money trail.

PTI’s counsel, Naeem Bukhari, may still bounce back with a satisfactory answer to the court and it is too soon for the public to issue a verdict. However, the negative publicity from the suspicion of the judges can cause irreversible damage to PTI and the anti-corruption struggle.

Supreme Court’s dissatisfaction with PTI’s case is not missed by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, who are openly heralding Imran’s impending disqualification.

If unable to provide an authentic money trail, Imran Khan would be set up in the trap he set up for his political rivals. PTI would find it hard to recover from a verdict against them since any defence they give is one they have criticized Nawaz for. If disqualified, for financial irregularities no less, Imran Khan will take a sizeable hit to his political fortunes.

The judiciary too seems to have woven itself into a corner. After resorting to judicial activism and a harsh verdict against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the Supreme Court would lose serious credibility if it did not apply the same terms to the PTI chief as well. By giving a tough judgment on semantic and transaction technicalities to disqualify Nawaz Sharif, it has set up a strong precedent, which it has to follow up with similarly strong decisions to appear unbiased.

Whereas many celebrated the July 28th decision as a milestone for democracy and freedom from corruption, the dangerous precedent of using Article 62 and 63 to remove parliamentarians , it may yet prove to be a double-edged sword .