How times change! A few short months ago - although it feels like a lifetime - when the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) was in power and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was knocking on the gates of the Prime Minister house, the relationship between the judiciary and the then leading opposition party was quite cosy. As verdict after verdict fell like blows on the ruling party, PTI acted as the vanguard of the Supreme Court; it welcomed each pronouncement as justice incarnate and attacked anyone who dared suggest that the judiciary was being biased. This vanguard claimed a few victims too, the apex judiciary – under the tutelage of the erstwhile Chief Justice Saqib Nisar – slapped anyone which questioned its motives with ‘contempt of court’ notices, and the PTI played no small part in drumming up support for these trials.

Yet a few short months in power seemed to have changed all that righteous anger. PTI has now petitioned the Supreme Court to set aside its Feb 6 verdict on the 2017 Faizabad sit-in by the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) claiming the reading the judgment leads to the “inescapable conclusion that the judge was biased”. What is odd about this petition is the fact that the judgment does not implicate the party at all, only “state institutions” and the media. What is odder still is that the judgment was authored by Justice Qazi Faez Isa – leading a two-judge SC bench – who is considered one of the most eminent, erudite and accomplished judge serving the judiciary at the moment. Surely he cannot be accused of bias, and if so, who is he biased against and for what reason?

Had this accusation been made by a PML-N minister while they were in power one could have expected contempt notices to come flying in. Will the PTI stand with its principle of “respecting the judiciary at all costs”, or can we expect another strategic, statesmen-esque U-turn?