It looks like the cloak of democratic protest that Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) have so precariously shrouded themselves in is beginning to come undone. While addressing a rally in Rahim Yar Khan on Sunday, Khan said that members of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) should be part of a commission headed by the Supreme Court to investigate rigging in the 2013 general election. There is no gainsaying the absurdity of this demand: in the constitutional scheme of things, there is no room for the ISI, mostly comprising military officers, or the military’s own intelligence wing, to sit on a commission to pass judgment on the electoral process.

Former PTI leader Javed Hashmi’s thunderbolts regarding Imran Khan taking dictation from the army have already done much to ruin the leader’s democratic credentials and the credibility of what most see as his constitutional demands. Khan is doing a great disservice to his party and its supporters by dragging institutions that need to be kept far away from politics - and in fact which are in dire need of being depoliticised - into the political centre stage. These intelligence agencies and those that head them need to be allowed to focus on their raison d’etre: gathering intelligence on external and internal threats to Pakistan and its people. Why is Khan intent on giving credence to speculations that his aim is not to strengthen the democratic project but to weaken and destabilise it? It is time for Khan to pick a side once and for all: does he profess allegiance to the constitution and this country’s fledgling democracy or does he want to be perceived as being aligned with anti-democratic elements? Khan ought to know that the game he is playing is a dangerous one, which will have consequences well beyond the PM’s office he so covets.