After the Judicial Commission’s controversial verdict that negated the findings of main report, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has much to rejoice from the Election Tribunal’s (ET) judgments in the VIP constituencies of NAs 122, 125 and 154 as the ET gas verified PTI’s principled stand regarding non transparent and unfair/rigged 2013 elections. NA 118 seems another certain PTI victory that may not be far away.

The ET’s decision in NA 122 against PML-N’s Ayaz Sadiq, also the Speaker of National Assembly, is a serious setback to his own standing as well as the ruling party. Khan’s patience has delivered fruit. It is a convincing victory for him and his party that is still recovering from the after shocks of the Judicial Commission’s report as well as series of losses in by elections specially the one in Haripur.

Leaders without morality are no leaders. Ayaz Sadiq will in all probability get his ‘stay’ from Supreme Court as per common practice in our

judicial system, but would he like to be known and mocked as a the ‘Stay Speaker’? My sincere advice to him and Khawaja Saad Rafique, the ‘stay Railways Minister’, would be to go back to their constituencies, prove that they won earlier on merit, and get a fresh mandate as per democratic norms. Only the scared would take cover of stays and delays.

With this hat trick of ET victories the PTI seems to have achieved its objectives for which the party launched a vigorous democratic movement to protest against rigging allegations in may 2013 elections. Those PTI workers, specially the youth and women activists of NA 125, who laid the foundations of this mass movement in Lalik Chowk in DHA Lahore, within forty eight hours of May 11 polls, and which culminated in PTI’s historic 126 days dharna in Azadi square in 2014, deserve praise and respect.

Instead of the 120 days specified by law, it took the honorable retired justices heading the ETs around two years or more to finalize such cases that saw repeated adjournments including ‘stays’ by high courts, strategy of deliberate delays by lawyers from both sides and NADRA’s prolonged forensic analysis/reports.

But considering the fact, that in the past, election petitions remained undecided for years while parliament completed its tenure, we do see some improvement in performance of ETs. Whether the losing candidates affected by ETs decisions seek refuge behind provisions in our judicial system, they do retain the right of appeal in Supreme Court against the ET verdict. But then if this legal process, too, takes many months to conclude or is indefinitely consigned to records rooms, the underlying spirit of providing speedy justice in elections related petitions is defeated.

If there is a definite timeframe laid down in law for ETs to dispose off their cases, the Honorable Supreme Court should consider evolving a mechanism that appeals filed in higher judiciary during processing of petition in ET or against ET’s final decisions are not unduly delayed. Sometimes one wonders what happened to PML-N leader and federal Railway Minister Kh Saad Rafique’s petition related to NA 125 or few others that await disposal by Supreme Court .

The ETs judgments highlighted the basic contradictions in their thinking and approach vis a vis the Commission’s report. The ETs knocked out the elections in these constituencies on grounds of large scale irregularities, that were obviously the result of gross inefficiency and mismanagement by Returning officers and ECP.

While the Judicial Commission’s report was an indictment of ECP for failing to conduct 2013 elections in fair and transparent manner as required by Constitution and law, the Commission stopped short of declaring those general elections null and void. At least the Commission should have ordered to hold accountable all concerned in the chain starting from the ECP down to Returning officers or officials of provincial Election Commission for failing to perform their authorized functions that resulted in 2013 elections mess.

But then there is something called morality and self-respect. At least the concerned ECP members should voluntarily step down as they have lost the nation’s confidence and trust. These ECP members can no longer be trusted with coming Local Government Elections in Sindh and Punjab.

We may criticize the then Chief Election Commissioner Justice Retd. Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim for failing to hold fair and transparent general elections in may 2013, but must salute him for taking the high moral ground by admitting his failure and resigning from his post in 2013.

Even opposition leader Mr Khurshid Shah has supported Imran Khan’s demand and has called upon the ECP members to resign with dignity. A unanimous parliamentary resolution in this respect is justified since almost all political parties including PML-N complained of rigged elections.

If PML-N does not cooperate then it would point towards a PML-ECP collusion in 2013 elections.

As a last resort a strong reference in Judicial Commission will be needed to show these members a forced exit. The Constitution/law needs to be amended to empower CEC to fire negligent and incompetent ECP members/officials.

The PTI may be beaming with confidence and pride, but it faces an uphill task. It has to reorganise and work real hard to perform well in coming Local Government elections. While there is some improvement, Khan needs to enforce strict discipline within the party ranks just as he did as cricket team captain.

No one is indispensable including those in party’s higher echelons. He should expel those from PTI who wash party’s dirty linen in public and media. At same time PTI’s sincere ideological workers must be acknowledged and given due space in the party’s hierarchy. Seniority does matter but those who have given their sweat and blood, too, deserve recognition.

The emerging status quo oriented new entrants should not be allowed to dominate or hijack party’s strategic decision making or alter the pro change character of the party. I wonder how some diehard PPP leaders who recently joined PTI and who earlier swore allegiance to Asif Zardari could be sincere and loyal to Imran Khan and his pro-change vision. Khan cannot afford another Javed Hashmi.