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The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday said it would challenge in the Supreme Court a bill allowing deposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take charge of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). The party also decided to initiate  another ‘public mobilization campaign’ against what it termed “the illegal and above-the-Constitution act of the current regime”

The PTI and its leader knows that such a move will be detrimental to the fresh wave of accountability sweeping the nation. Therefore it has started a new campaign to end such an event from happening

The approval of The Election Bill 2017 on Tuesday with a majority vote in the National Assembly has removed the last hurdle in the way of the three-time premier to get re-elected as head of the PML-N. The bill allows a convicted person to lead a political party — a move that many political analysts say will give a new life to Sharif’s career as a politician.

The following struggle seems to be phase two of the current war between the two political parties. While the PTI became the victor of the first phase by spearheading the campaign that saw Nawaz Sharif getting disqualified by the Supreme Court, it recognizes the fact that the return of Nawaz as the De Jure head of the PML(N) will be a severe blow to the accountability movement.

Read more: Infighting within PML(N) worsens as accountability of…

The PTI went for protest mobilization and the resultant scenario forced the Supreme Court’s hand. In a tenacious courtroom struggle fought by the PTI in both the court and outside

The PTI having been formed in 1996 burst onto the scene in 2011 and rocked the quasi-two party system that dominated the country’s democratic process. Its main recipe for success was its leader Imran Khan’s connect with the politically marginalized middle class. While parties before the PTI largely catered to either the businessmen or lower classes or niches in the left/right spectrum, the PTI managed to connect with the largely untapped potential of the educated middle class by appealing to the concept of accountability, positive reforms, and transparency.

This recipe helped it emerge as the third largest party by seats and second largest by votes of the May 2013 election. And it has been largely the accountability movement that has been the driving force of PTI’s momentum. Be it the Ehtesab commission formulated in its governed province of KPK or the campaign for a transparent investigation into allegations of election rigging or the Panama paper leaks, the PTI has shown its position to be on the side of accountability.

It is in this behavior, the PTI largely resembles its founder and leader Imran Khan. Seen by both friend and foe as a tenacious single-minded individual

The PTI’s tenacity for accountability is often manifest in the tools it tries to attain it. The PTI recognizing that connivance of other parties, who often operate on the “you scratch my back” principle, will deny it its objectives in the parliament often adopts unorthodox methods. It usually goes for street power such as massive rallies as well as dharnas alongside approaching relevant institutions for such ends.

Read more: Democracy under threat from Nawaz Sharif?

It is in this behavior, the PTI largely resembles its founder and leader Imran Khan. Seen by both friend and foe as a tenacious single-minded individual, Khan’s politics has been largely focused on concentrated attacks on a single person. This was apparent in the Musharraf era when the military ruler was the target of Khan’s politics.

This recipe helped it emerge as the third largest party by seats and second largest by votes of the May 2013 election. And it has been largely the accountability movement that has been the driving force of PTI’s momentum

Khan’s tenacity could be gauged by his response to the “Emergency” imposed by Musharraf when instead of being content with House arrest like other politicians he went underground and started a guerrilla campaign of sudden appearances and speeches. This campaign continued until he was betrayed by the Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba in Punjab University.

The same case was in the current Panama leaks. When denied a transparent inquiry into the involvement of Nawaz Sharif in the Panama scandal, the PTI went for protest mobilization and the resultant scenario forced the Supreme Court’s hand. In a tenacious courtroom struggle fought by the PTI in both the court and outside, Nawaz Sharif was found guilty and disqualified from his post of Prime Minister.

Read more: Jhelum symbolizes all that could go wrong…

The PTI having been formed in 1996 burst onto the scene in 2011 and rocked the quasi-two party system that dominated the country’s democratic process

In this struggle, the PTI was largely alone. The largest opposition party, PPP, often recognized as being hands in gloves with the PML(N) due to factors such as the Charter of Democracy and the NRO, lambasted the PTI for “sidestepping the Parliament”. Other parties such as the Jamaat-e-Islami and MQM largely played both sides of the fence.

Now as Nawaz plots to return to power by still retaining leadership of the PML(N), the PTI  and its leader knows that such a move will be detrimental to the fresh wave of accountability sweeping the nation. Therefore it has started a new campaign to end such an event from happening.

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