It would have been reasonable to assume that this close to the next general elections political parties would have developed their manifestos, honed their messages, and were busy getting their development plans for the next five years across the electorate at large. Conflict, if any, between political parties at this moment should have been on differences in their respective governing policies and principles, and debates focused on establishing the validity of one model of development over the other.

Unfortunately, the political discourse has not reached that stage yet; and considering how it has regressed into the practice of trading accusations of the past, it is difficult to see it advancing anytime soon either.

At the moment the prime reason for this regression is Imran Khan and his continued politics of blame and accusation. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman on Friday leveled new allegations of corruption against the Sharif family claiming “fresh evidence” and speculated that they were making efforts to have some backdoor settlement for a safe exit in corruption cases. He added that the on-leave Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was a front-man for the ruling family as he and his children looked after a number of their companies in Dubai. Unsurprisingly both allegations received a strong pushback from the Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PML-N) and especially from Ishaq Dar, setting off another round of accusations and counter accusations.

The implication of Imran Khan using the term “new evidence” to describe his allegations is clear; he feels that court needs to be involved again in determining his claims. This is regardless of that fact that he has presented no evidence to back up his accusations, and is highly irresponsible in propagating baseless speculation on the Saudi Arabia visit.

The end of the Supreme Court references against Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan and Jehangir Tareen had bought hope that political discourse could be taken out of the court and into the normal public domain – however it seems that the PTI wants to keep everyone mired in endless petitions.