As one high-profile political trial fades away from the forefront of the nation’s attention, another seems to be vying for the position of the national legal conflict. The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) hearings on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) foreign funding case are heating up and the ECP is not afraid of throwing its weight around.

After issuing a contempt of court notice to PTI chief Imran Khan for claiming that the ECP is biased, the electoral body’s bench on Wednesday rejected Imran Khan’s response, giving him more time to write another one. During the proceedings, the bench asserted – rather forcefully - its “complete authority to investigate party bank accounts”, and take “suo moto notice on any matter”. The ECP seems to be saying to Imran Khan “you sought accountability from others; remember you are supposed to be accountable too.”

While the electoral body is implying that through the assertion of a legal right it has, members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) are repeating this epitaph much more explicitly and menacingly. “Those who dare hold us accountable will he held accountable too one day!” While it is unfortunate that the members of the ruling party feel that those seeking to hold democratically elected representatives accountable are enemies, this is a telling sentiment that has often been repeated by party members and not refuted by party leadership – perhaps consciously. This changes the context of the ECP hearings; with the PML-N claiming it will use “accountability” as a weapon of revenge, how credible is the ECP’s pursuit of PTI to the exclusion of all other parties?

While it is definitely true that the use of state organs to punish opposition parties is a condemnable – and unconstitutional – action, Imran cannot commit contempt of court. Having built himself up to be a portrait of financial and legal propriety, Imran Khan must follow all the directions of the ECP. Despite its shortcoming on other basis, at least the PML-N cooperated fully with the Panama case in the Supreme Court and was prepared to accept whatever decision was given. His non-cooperation with an investigation will shatter that premise. His consul must attend all hearings and provide all documents he is legally required to give – here is the perfect chance for Imran Khan to show he backs up his words by actions.

In his own words, if he has nothing to hide he should not be afraid of scrutiny.