Politics in Pakistan, regrettably, continues to be characterized by devious and dirty antics by the political parties and their leaders, which is the reason why Pakistan even after more than seventy-four years of its independence remains at a cross-roads groping in the darkness to find its real direction in line with the vision of its founding father. The irresistible propensity among the politicians to defy constitution, law and democratic norms to achieve their narrow political agenda of clinching political power and then clinging to it has landed the nation into a humongous and debilitating crisis including the dismemberment of the country. The dilemma is that despite those self-inflicted tragedies they refuse to learn their lessons and change course. The current political crisis in the country that started with the filing of a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan by the PDM parties which consequently led to his ouster from power followed by desperate attempts by him to build the narrative of a foreign conspiracy against his government, is very much quintessential of the political culture described in the foregoing paragraphs. Although I do not support the move to orchestrate the fall of governments before their mandated tenure, I have to admit that the PDM parties used their constitutional right to file a no-confidence motion and it is for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a Prime Minister has been removed through constitutional means. As it was a constitutional move it should have been confronted or countered through recognized democratic norms and constitutional means. But it was not to be. Initially, attempts were made to delay voting on the motion in defiance of provisions of article 95 of the constitution. Then notwithstanding the fact that the motion had been admitted by the speaker on 25th March for voting on 3rd April, the deputy speaker rejected the motion using the conspiracy theory as a pretext by misinterpreting Article 5 of the constitution. Imran Khan is well advised to get his act right and refrain from unconstitutional antics. The Supreme Court as custodian of the constitution immediately took notice of what had happened and after hearing lawyers of all the stakeholders came up with a unanimous verdict that the ruling by the deputy speaker and consequent actions of dissolving the assembly and going for new elections, were ultra vires and against the constitution. It ordered the holding of the vote on the motion on the 9th of April. As the whole nation saw live on the TV screens, the NA session was adjourned three times during which the government MNAs made lengthy speeches heaping scorn on the opposition parties and recounting the achievements of PTI. At 10.30 pm, a special meeting of the cabinet was called. It all indicated that the government was reluctant to abide by the orders of the court. It was probably in anticipation of the likelihood of defiance of the court orders that SC and IHC judges opened the courts before midnight to deal with any unconstitutional ploy of the PTI government and rightly so. Prisoner vans and a few military vehicles also made their appearance around the parliament. Realizing that there was no way out, the deputy speaker came to the assembly, announced that he could not be part of the assembly proceedings and handed over the chair to Ayaz Sadiq from the panel of chairmen who conducted the proceeding in regards to the no-confidence motion. The entire episode reflected disrespect for the constitution and the judicial verdict. It is pertinent to point out that long before the filing of the no-confidence motion and even after it, the writing was on the wall for Imran Khan. The opposition had mustered the numbers for the success of the motion. When all machinations to thwart the move by the opposition failed, Imran Khan changed gears and direction of his antics. Anticipating the success of the no-confidence motion, he came up with an international conspiracy theory at his public rally in Islamabad on 27th March. Since then he has been hammering on this rhetoric in his public rallies in Karachi and Lahore and even at the press conference addressed by him on 22nd April even though the NSC meeting held under his chairmanship and the one recently presided by Shahbaz Sharif, clearly refuted the contention regarding conspiracy and DG ISPR in his press conference had also given a lie to it. Meanwhile, the former federal minister for law and information, Fawad Chaudhry in an interview with a private channel in response to a question remarked “Had our relationship with the establishment been good then we would have still been in government.” It was a negation of the conspiracy theory and a clear cut hint that it was the establishment which orchestrated Imran’s exit from power. Then Imran Khan himself in his rally at Lahore while sticking to the international conspiracy theory, also said that those who had made the mistake should rectify it by holding immediate elections. It was manifestly an allusion to the involvement of the establishment in his ouster. So he expanded the canvass of his conspiracy mantra. He also demanded the removal of the Chief Election Commissioner contending that he was biased and holding immediate elections under a new ECP. He seems to have problems with the judiciary, ECP, establishment, USA and the PDM parties. He now also contemplates staging a sit-in in Islamabad like the one he did in 2014. This saga of shifting sands also adequately scuttles the credibility of his conspiracy theory. In his press conference, he also demanded SC form a commission of inquiry to probe conspiracy issue, not knowing that the apex court on its own cannot form a commission of inquiry. Under the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act 2017 which replaced a similar Act of 1956, it is only the federal government which can form the commission of inquiry. That indicates his lack of knowledge and proper homework. He needs to be reminded that the judicial commission which was formed to probe his allegations of rigging in the General Election 2013, was also formed through a Presidential decree after the ruling PML(N) and his party signed an agreement to this effect paving the way for its formation. Imran Khan is well advised to get his act right, refrain from unconstitutional antics and inciting his followers to violence. Immediate elections without reforms, enjoying consensus of all the political forces and other systemic changes, would not bring stability to the already volatile situation. Even for the appointment of a new Election Commissioner, consensus between the serving Prime Minister and opposition leader is a constitutional obligation. Therefore, Imran has no option other than to remain in the parliament and hold dialogue with his opponents, setting aside his delusional hubris. In a democratic dispensation engagement is the name of the game and it needs to be played according to the constitution and democratic norms. The writer is a former diplomat and freelance columnist.