Possible return of PTI to National Assembly still in jeopardy

Islamabad (Neo Web Desk0 No doubt the report of the Inquiry Commission on the veracity of the 2013 general elections has put the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in a tight spot, more so its chairman Imran Khan. ‘What next?’ looks the bigger issue for the party than explaining away the big blow to its downcast supporters.Some analysts believe the PTI is down but not out. They think it can take heart that the three-judge inquiry commission predicated its conclusion – that the evidence before it did not prove the charge that the 2013 general elections were systematically rigged – with the words “…despite some lapses by the Election Commission of Pakistan.”Imran Khan has since tried to lift the pall of gloom hanging over the party workers by saying that his fight was also about electoral reforms and the commission’s report would lead to that.In a frank, off-the-record discussion, a senior PTI leader said everybody in the party was looking for a new beginning. One option, according to him, was that “we accept the commission’s report in totality, start our political movement afresh and focus on electoral reforms and govern the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa better and play the role of the opposition at the centre effectively.”For a real new beginning, though, the party leadership needs to introspect where and how it failed its rallying cry of “Change” that made PTI a ‘third force’ in the country and gained it power in one province – the turbulent, tribal Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.However, the PTI chairman looked stuck in the same old grove when he said the commission’s findings made the results of last general elections more suspicious to him.Many in the PTI, including a key office-bearer Dawn spoke to, have now set their eyes on the ruling of the election tribunal in the case of NA-122. Imran Khan had challenged the return of Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq from that constituency, and the Supreme Court decision on railway minister Khawaja Saad Rafique’s challenge to the ruling of an election tribunal which deseated him.“A decision in our favour in the case of NA-122 can lift the party’s sagging spirits. At least we will have something to fall back upon at this despondent stage when everyone is deriding us,” said the PTI office-bearer.“It will be a real booster and face-saving for us if the Supreme Court were to uphold the decision of the election tribunal in the case of Mr Saad Rafique,” he added.It could equally turn out his wishful thinking as many of his party colleagues see “a fat chance” of the low judicial election tribunals taking a different path after the high judicial inquiry commission has spoken.“The lower judiciary always takes cue from the honourable judges of the superior courts,” said the PTI office-bearer. “Therefore, in my opinion, the party leadership shouldn’t attach much hope to the case of NA-122.”A close aide of Imran Khan told Dawn that the party leadership was “already in introspection mode” and been brainstorming about the future course of action of the party.The PTI chairman hinted at some priority areas for the party which included focusing on governance in the KP and being proactive in the parliament. What to expect from such “fresh thinking” in the party will be known only later. For now, the stirring for another “Change” is visible.

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