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Tuesday September 27, 2022

ECP changes name of ‘foreign funding’ case to ‘prohibited funding’

PTI’s counsel seeks dismissal of Akbar Babar’s case; ECP adjourns hearing till June 20

June 15, 2022
An anti-terrorist force personal uses a metal detector to check the area of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on August 26, 2008. — AFP/File
An anti-terrorist force personal uses a metal detector to check the area of the Election Commission of Pakistan in Islamabad on August 26, 2008. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Wednesday directed its staff to list the “foreign funding” case as “prohibited funding” from now — accepting the party’s stance.

A three-member ECP bench, led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, heard the case of PTI’s alleged illicit funding.

During the hearing, the CEC accepted PTI’s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan’s stance that the case should be listed as prohibited funding and not foreign funding.

“Your clients have been using the term ‘foreign funding’ on media,” the CEC told the PTI’s counsel.

Continuing his arguments, Khan said the Elections Act, 2017, allows receiving funds from overseas Pakistanis but prohibits procuring funds from anyone else other than them.

Khan, speaking on the scrutiny committee report that revealed account details of the PTI, said he will not say that the committee had “mala fide” intentions.

“Even if there was illicit funding in the party’s accounts, it has been returned. The [managment] of the funds is given to a policy agent. If funding is received from sources other than the ones mentioned in the agreement, then it is the responsibility of the agent,” he said.

He added that maybe the committee probing the accounts did not have the required knowledge about the matter.

“All the arguments of the case have been concluded, therefore, the plea of Akbar S Babar should be dismissed,” the PTI’s counsel said, completing his arguments.

For his part, the counsel of Akbar S Babar — who filed the case against PTI in 2014 — assured that he would also complete his arguments within two-three days.

The ECP then adjourned the hearing till June 20.

PTI hid funds worth millions of rupees from ECP: report

The ruling PTI hid funds worth millions of rupees from the ECP, the report of an ECP scrutiny committee probing the party's funds had revealed on January 4.

The report stated that the PTI provided "false information" regarding the party's funding to the ECP. It said that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP's) bank statement revealed that the party had received Rs1.64 billion in funding.

According to the report, the party did not disclose funding worth more than Rs310 million to the ECP.

The scrutiny committee was formed in 2019 to audit foreign funding received by the PTI. The case began in 2014 when the party's founding member, Akbar S Babar, filed it.