Imran’s misogynist remarks about a lady politician have come under severe attack—and rightly so—by all those who have belief and faith in our cultural values and Islamic injunctions regarding the respect and honour of women. The remarks made by Imran Khan with a smirk on his face—which was responded with a loud roar by the audience—sent a very wrong message to his young and diehard followers.

Even a glance at his political career and his ascent to the corridors of power proves that he is a demagogue of the first order, a fake revolutionary who shred into pieces the narrative that he spelt out at the 30th October 2011 rally in Lahore. He detested hereditary power brokers, the electables and all those who had benefitted by the alleged corrupt system of governance. But he soon realised that he stood no chance of ever getting into the corridors of power with his revolutionary credentials. That is when he started compromising on his declared narrative, leading to a myriad of contradictions in his actions. He accepted the most corrupt and the ones he called anti-Pakistan to form his government after the 2018 elections. Even before that, many of the founding members of the party left him for deviating from his declared ideals, his regressive views on women, the double standards of his life and the syndrome of self-righteousness he suffered from.

Not only the founding members of PTI deserted him but many millions who voted for him in the elections, like me, became disillusioned and disappointed. While in government, he negated all the democratic norms and paid no need to the legitimacy of the things that he did. He failed to develop a working relationship with the opposition parties, a basic requirement in a democratic dispensation, and instead resorted to political vendetta against them by initiating corruption cases which his government failed to prove within three and half years of its rule. There is no denying that the economy went into a nose-dive and the people were hit hard by the burgeoning inflation and unstoppable devaluation of the dollar. The circumstances that he created forced the opposition parties to get together and orchestrate his exit through constitutional means. The ensuing political instability has surely added to the gravity of the situation. Converting a political rivalry to political enmity by Imran Khan and the introduction of the culture of violence in Pakistani politics has made things really difficult and dangerous. It is a tragedy that Imran Khan has been able to sell his false narrative of international conspiracy in which his political opponents, establishment, judiciary and ECP were also allegedly involved.

After holding public rallies at different cities of the country where besides launching severe attacks on his opponents for being part of the international conspiracy to remove him, he has been demanding dissolution of the assemblies and immediate elections. Finally, the much-hyped long march has also been launched. He has also been expressing distrust in the Chief Election Commissioner saying free and fair elections could not be held under him. Immediate elections are not feasible as the ECP has already made it clear that it would not be in a position to hold them before October. As far as the removal of the Chief Election Commissioner is concerned it is also not as simple as it seems to. With regards to the removal of Chief Election Commissioner, Article 209 of the constitution says “the Supreme Judicial Council on its own or on a reference by the President can deliberate on the issue if on information from any sources, the Council or the President is of the opinion that a judge of the SC or High Court may be incapable of properly performing the duties of his office by reason of physical or mental incapacity or may have been guilty of misconduct.” The conditions of physical disability and misconduct have to be established before a reference can be made. It entails a lengthy procedure.

Article 213 of the Constitution in respect of the appointment of a new Chief Election Commissioner says “The Prime Minister shall in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, forward three names for appointment of the Commissioner to a Parliamentary Committee for hearing and confirmation of any one person. Provided that in case there is no consensus between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, each shall forward separate lists to the Parliamentary Committee for consideration which may confirm any one name. The Parliamentary Committee to be constituted by the Speaker shall comprise fifty percent members from the Treasury Branches and fifty percent from the Opposition Parties, based on their strength in Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament), to be nominated by the respective Parliamentary Leaders.”

As is evident, the issue of removal of Chief Election Commissioner and the appointment of the new incumbent can only be resolved through consultations between the sitting Prime Minister and the opposition leader and the involvement of the parliament. There are other contentious issues pertaining to reforms in the electoral system which again can be resolved through engagement with other political parties and the sitting government. Things need to be done as prescribed by the constitution as any method contrary to that would foment chaos and political instability in the country which it cannot afford at the moment.