The issue of advisors to the Prime Minister has taken another twist as the Islamabad High Court disposed of a petition on Wednesday, to disqualify Advisor to the Prime Minister on Accountability, Shahzad Akbar. Mr Akbar had been promoted from the position of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on the same portfolio to the designation of advisor, so that he could attend parliamentary sittings and reply on behalf of the PM.

Given that PM Imran Khan and his government are going to be judged by their performance at the end of this tenure, it is important that the Prime Minister be allowed to choose his aides according to who he thinks can help him achieve the goals identified. Accountability could be considered as the single most important electoral promise of the government, which is why this appointment becomes even more significant.

Having said that, PTI’s stance on the issue of advisors remains incongruous. And they are not alone; all political parties have taken politically expedient stances to suit the situation of the time. Back when PTI was in opposition dual citizens could not be employed because of a conflict of interest. Yet, now, all those issues lie forgotten.

Political parties have a responsibility to their electorate, the foremost of which is consistency and providing stances based on principles, instead of opportunism. Political parties in Pakistan must learn this too. They should look to offer a single position on the issue of dual citizenship and advisors to identify where they stand—it is perfectly fine if they do not see a problem with providing for the PM’s discretion in these appointments. But this must be clear from the outset. After a stance has been clarified, the government should work on ensuring that the legal system is consistent; if for example, SAPMs and advisors can be dual citizens, cabinet holders from parliament should be allowed to do so as well, provided they prove that no conflict of interest exists. Consistency should be implemented across the board.