After denouncing it as fake and fighting against it for months, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) returned to the parliament on Monday to attend the joint session called to discuss Pakistan’s possible role in relation to the situation in Yemen. For months, the party stuck to its extreme position and demanded Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation. To put pressure on the elected government, it launched several protests and strikes and didn’t hesitate from resorting to violence. Police, journalists and common citizens – everyone came under attack at some point during the PTI’s ‘go Nawaz go’ campaign. Despite allying with Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PTA), it ultimately failed to achieve its objective and finally called of the sit-in in Islamabad following the Peshawar incident. PTI’s onslaught weakened democratic powers and enabled the military’s visible return to the political forefront. After doing considerable damage to itself and the democratic system, the party is back in the house. What kind of a role it takes on in the parliament will become clear in coming days. However, during Monday’s session, it exercised uncharacteristic restraint as others lambasted the party and chanted ‘go Imran go’.

Meanwhile, former President PTI and ex-MNA, Javed Hashmi, made more damning revelations and accused the PTI of conspiring with former ISI Chief Gen (r) Shuja Pasha to oust the government. Mr Hashmi’s allegations reinforce the view that anti-democracy elements, for personal or political reasons, continue to meddle in politics to the detriment of the entire system. Pakistan’s history entails several accounts of political leaders joining hands with such forces, and Mr Hashmi’s statements point out that the practice is still prevalent. The PTI’s credibility has suffered greatly, and it is important for the party to come clean. If that is too difficult, it should at least focus on getting its house in order. PTI Chairman Imran Khan enjoys the support of millions in the country who trust him and expect great things from him. He must keep that in mind the next team he seek a signal for the “umpire”.

While the government has been successful in bringing the PTI back to the parliament, its members, including the prime minister, may want to consider attending parliamentary sessions more often. It needs to engage with the PTI and other opposition parties on all key issues. So far, it has been largely unable to make that happen in the parliament as decisions continue to be made elsewhere.