Arsalan Iftikhar is all over the news these days for his aggressive campaign against PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhary’s son and according to some, the chink in his armour, Arsalan Iftikhar is no stranger to controversy. The infamous presidential reference sent by Pervez Musharraf on 9th March 2007, which sought the removal of ex-CJP Iftikhar Chaudhary and eventually sparked the lawyer’s movement, contained a considerable amount of material related to Arsalan’s alleged corruption. Later, it was the real estate tycoon, Malik Riaz, who once again dragged Arsalan into the spotlight in an attempt to put the superior judiciary on the back foot. Amidst a lot of brouhaha, the sort that we’re witnessing now, the matter came to a quiet end with neither side emerging decisively victorious. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so wrong to say that all involved in that battle lost. Of course, some more than others. But in those cases, one could argue that other than his own actions, Arsalan was ultimately paying the price for his father’s position on the bench. This time however, Arsalan himself decided to dress in red and enter an arena packed with bulls. When he accepted the position as Vice Chairman of Balochistan Investment Board (BOI), the bulls came charging and threw him off the seat.

Now, he wants to hit back. Imran Khan was one of the most vocal critics of his appointment and has also been hurling accusations against both father and son over alleged financial corruption and election fraud. In response, Arsalan has now gone to the Election Commission to acquire Imran’s nomination papers. According to him, Imran failed to mention a certain third child who he fathered outside his marriage. True or not, the story is old and irrelevant. Arsalan isn’t making any revelations, but merely repeating the redundant. Personal lives are personal lives. Unless an individual’s actions do not result in consequences for others, they ought to be left alone. Pakistan has moved on from the era of slander and spicy scandals. At least, this is what one hopes. Arsalan shouldn’t be allowed to drag us back into history. And now that he is a public figure, the onus of proving his innocence lies on him. Imran, on the other hand, would also do well to reconsider his confrontational style of politics. That is not to suggest that he mustn’t raise questions, but it certainly helps if they do not take the form of wild accusations absent any proof or evidence. Speculation may prompt investigation and lead to results, but it should not be confused with final judgments. Let’s see how long this fight lasts, and how many remember it once it has long ended.