Last year’s spree of disqualifications of parliamentarians by the Supreme Court begs the question: what is a political party to do with its disqualified members? According to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI), members declared not “sadiq and ameen” by the superior courts ought to not influence the political sphere in the country. The party leading the campaign against corruption and dishonesty has harshly condemned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) still wielding power to the disqualified Nawaz Sharif. But how well does PTI fare when the disqualified is one of their own?

The Supreme Court’s refusal to allow a review of Jahangir Tareen’s disqualification is the final answer to any hope PTI might have had in enabling Tareen as a parliamentarian. Despite persistent attempts by Tareen to clear the charge laid out against him in December last year, the jury is out and it looks like Tareen will have to live with being declared not sadiq and ameen, and thus unfit for parliament. By all means now, and following PTI’s principled stance, Jahangir Tareen should not be involved in politics.

Yet will Tareen’s influence in PTI diminish? Tareen, who is often called the bank of PTI, is thought to have wielded major power in PTI, and is rumoured to be the initiator behind many of PTI’s policy shifts. Even after his disqualification, Tareen was still a major leader, being integral part of all party meetings and activities, and was thought responsible for many election ticket decisions. To justify the dissonance of advocating for Nawaz Sharif to be removed as party head yet still harbouring Tareen, PTI stated that there was a possibility of review. With this decision of the SC, there is no longer any excuse.

Departing from Tareen will be a difficult decision for PTI as Tareen had been a major drive behind the party, particularly in securing independents to ensure PTI’s majority in the national and provincial assemblies. However, this situation serves as an opportunity for Khan to prove his commitment to anti-corruption and accountability. Whether the decision of the SC was decided rightly or wrongly, the party bound itself to its word when it condemned PML-N for still harbingering a disqualified candidate. To establish its credibility, PTI will have to distance from its own disqualified candidate; otherwise PTI’s accountability campaign will look like just another example of political opportunitism.