The Special Minister to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan identified the government’s alarming intention to review the law of Production Order at the behest of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet at a press conference on Tuesday. The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is heading down a dangerous path that limits democratic rights of both the members of parliament and the people that have voted for them and one of the reasons for not removing the Production Order clause in the law concerning rules and procedures in the National Assembly is the PTI’s treatment of political opponents itself.

The government cannot simply deny the history of political victimisation of opposition parties, in both this country and beyond. The Production Order is a safeguard that protects the representatives and the government using its time in power to remove this clearly indicates a willingness to tip the scales unfairly in its favour. Beyond the representatives themselves there is the more important principle of allowing the constituency to be included in all debates that might concern its fate. Denying members of the parliament the right to a production order is tantamount to depriving millions from using their voice in Parliament.

While many members of opposition crimes have been accused of crimes, those that have seats in the federal and provincial assemblies have not been convicted of any crimes yet. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet however, already seem to have convinced themselves of the guilt of their peers in opposition, and the rest of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has also espoused this belief wholeheartedly. The principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is quickly losing its value in the eyes of the ruling party and its supporters, judging by this general opinion of treating the accused as horribly as possible. Equal treatment in the eyes of the law is important, but the government is already exercising retribution against those that have not been proven guilty in any trial except for the one that PTI is conducting to sway public opinion.

The ruling party has brought its practice of stating unfounded allegations of corruption as fact in to government and is looking to punish its opponents in prison by hardening conditions, which is vindictive, illegal and immoral. A democratic country should not treat prisoners in the way of medieval kingdoms, humiliation, torture and causing deliberate discomfort is not an option. The ruling party should remember that their treatment of opponents today and a removal of the Production Order might be something it regrets once it is no longer in the driving seat.