The Ministry of Law and Justice has finally decided to move an amendment on the production order law in the National Assembly, looking to bar MNAs and senators accused of corruption from having production orders issued to attend sessions of parliament. By looking to do this, the government is completely ignoring the fact that this law is not in place to get relief for a parliamentarian, and is only displaying its vendetta against opposition politicians, given that a large number of them are currently behind bars. With parliamentarians on the treasury benches having nothing to fear from the accountability drive – the government has ignored any accusations of corruption against it and has solely focused on going after its opponents – the only representatives that will be affected are those in opposition.

What the government fails to realise is that an elected representative of the people has a duty to those that voted for them, and by denying the representative to attend sessions of parliament, the government is in effect, denying a portion of the electoral base the right to have their views represented in the legislative institutions of the country. This goes against the basic democratic right of representation in state matters, regardless of which side of the political spectrum you stand on. In its fight against the PML-N and the PPP, the PTI government is now punishing their voters as well, for choosing to not vote for the ruling party.

Additionally, by denying the production order of parliamentarians that have been accused of corruption, the government is essentially making an accusation of corruption tantamount to the suspect’s guilt, which is in contravention of basic legal principles. If those accused of corruption cannot be brought to parliament, they cannot raise a voice against the government’s targeted accountability, which many commentators believe is not aimed at ridding the country of corruption, but politicians that the state does not want participating in the political discourse.

Even if ruling PTI is not looking to silence its opposition in parliament, members of the party cannot deny that the accountability drive and the party’s bid to first charge opposition politicians with corruption, then conducting media trials against them and now denying them the right to air any grievances in parliament only suits ruling PTI at the expense of other parties and now their voters as well. The government’s consistent attempts to target its opposition, whether they are from other political parties or from the media fraternity, shows that PTI does not value the democratic norms that helped it ascend to power. The party needs to reflect on its actions and think of the long-term consequences it might leave on the country, all just to consolidate its own power in the short run. Perhaps focusing on actual governance might help stabilise things for the government more than these witch-hunts against any and all dissenters.