In a laudable move, PTI Chairman Imran Khan is set to take action against 20 lawmakers for participating in horse trading during the Senate elections. The public naming and shaming of party members is a daring move, one that speaks to the commitment of the Captain in backing his statements with action. In a political culture defined by opulent speech-making and hyperbolic rhetoric bandied about to incite rivaling parties, the move to set an example by chastising elements of subversion in one’s own political party is a commendable one. Indeed, it is not a strategy most political parties would employ as it runs the risk of antagonising the party as whole, provoking dissent and desertion right before the elections.

PTI’s move, boasting a dismissal of 30 per cent of its leaders under these charges, and a declaration of ‘truly protecting the sanctity of the vote’ is a gauntlet thrown at other political parties, daring them to follow suit. Whether other parties will oblige is yet to be seen. With parties fissuring left and right, this political gauntlet might just be passed off however with overblown accusations of horse-trading and vote-selling dominating any discourse of the electoral process, a move to rectify the subversion starting with investigating and exposing members of their own parties is the best course of action, one that they can actually control and carry out.

Where such transparency in politics must be appreciated and emulated, the issue is much more nuanced than just ousting party members alleged of corruption to salvage a more sincere polity. The charges are yet to be proven and lawmakers have the right to deny the charge. Similarly, if proven guilty, there is no guarantee that they will not be let off with a mild scolding. Where the move to name them is admirable, it makes no difference if the same crooked lawmakers are regurgitated in the political matrix instead of being black-listed. The overarching fact still remains that horse-trading is a much encouraged ambiguity that is inherent in our antiquated indirect senate electoral process. It is not to say that a direct electoral process for the upper house would be completely untainted by similar loopholes and rigging, however there is a pressing need for a reform of the Senate electoral method and its inherent discrepancies to allow for a freely and fairly elected parliament.

Regardless, the move by the PTI chairman is a refreshing and positive undertaking if seen to a close.