The leader of the allegedly largest political party in the country, Imran Khan, failed to appear before an accountability court to answer questions regarding an inquiry by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) regarding the misuse of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government’s helicopters. According to his lawyer, the leader is busy canvassing before the elections and hence cannot make time for an appearance in the court regarding a matter of accountability over misuse of resources of the state. The idea that a leader who chants slogans of nothing but accountability and misuse of the taxpayers’ money cannot appear before the court is not only unacceptable but also hypocritical.

The entire campaign of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) has been to rid the society and its political setup of the misuse of funds and resources to actually ensure development but the fact that the party leadership does not deem it necessary to appear before court and answer allegations regarding misuse makes many question their loyalty towards the cause of accountability. The party has maintained the position that the inquiry initiated by NAB is not in line with the ground reality, however, the plan is to initiate this hearing after the elections are locked.

NAB has granted the permission to extend Imran Khan’s hearing due to the petition filed by his lawyer, and this particular move raises a lot of questions because we see a dichotomy in the stances of the accountability courts. On one hand, former premier Nawaz Sharif’s decision was not delayed till the elections on his demand and his lawyer is not being granted the right to meet him by the jail authorities. On the other hand, Imran Khan, and the party is allegedly being facilitated to appear before the court after the elections.

What matters most at this point is not only ensuring that elections take place on time but also that the system runs smoothly; a part of which is appearing before courts to ensure that there has been no misuse of the resources of the state. Upholding the law is of extreme importance and precedents are set by leading from the front.