Pakistan’s politics had always been a circus of blame-games and he-said-she-said, however, this recent cases of party funding in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is taking the cake. With almost every party filing cases against each other, the ECP is being used as a complete political tool for petty revenge and the word “accountability” might just be reduced to a joke.

This is not to say that the claims by the parties might not be true. The petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), in retaliation of the case being heard against PTI, holds some extraordinary allegations, some of which may carry several elements of the truth.

What should be noticed is that PTI denied that ECP has jurisdiction to ponder on a party’s funding, yet it seems to forgo that reasoning now. It is not a coincidence that the case filed by the PTI is a mirror case of the one being heard against it. Pointless counter-suits are a common tactic in law to delay or obstruct justice, and this petition, as well as the original petition by PML-N, feels like countless bickering and “one-upping” to avoid losing face.

This constant back and forth of suits by political parties to implicate each other calls for a discussion on where we want to go with the accountability movement. Agree with it or disagree, the July decision by the Supreme Court did trigger about an anti-corruption movement in the country, and has put in place disincentives and deterrence for corruption. However, what next should we do with it? Lack of checks in place has led to probably majority of parliament, as well as other institutions, having assets beyond means. Perhaps the end goal is to leave an empty national assembly.

The potential for the accountability movement to use ECP to target their rival politicians is unsettling and these cases read more like a tit-for-tat revenge petitions rather than a genuine call for accountability.

Blame also lies on the ECP, who does not seem to aim for an unbiased approach and has been quite pro-active against Imran. It will be interesting to see whether it will entertain PTI’s claims against PML-N; the same claims it is pressurizing Imran with. The onus is on ECP, whether it can break this cycle of pointless revenge petitions in an unbiased way, or continue with this loop.