Monday June 24, 2024

ECP rejects PTI plea, says retrial not possible

By Mumtaz Alvi
March 25, 2023

ISLAMABAD: While rejecting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s plea for cross-examination of witnesses at this stage in the foreign funding case, the Election Commission of Pakistan has ruled this would have meant retrial/reopening of the matter as the proceedings now are about the confiscation of prohibited contributions or donations.

The ECP also on Friday allowed the recounting of LG election votes from 17 polling stations in Karachi as requested by the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Rejecting the PTI plea of cross-examination of witnesses, the ECP said: “The prayer for reopening or re-examination of matter at this stage cannot be considered as the proceedings in terms of Rule 6 of the PPR Rules, 2002, is the execution of findings recorded in terms of Article 6 of the Political Parties Order, 2002 by the commission.”

In the order shared with the media here Friday, the ECP explained that therefore at this stage when all the proceedings in terms of Article 6 of the Political Parties Order, 2002, have been concluded and subsequent proceedings in terms of Rule 6 of Political Parties Rules (PPR), 2002, have commenced, acceptance of application would amount to retrial/reopening of the matter.

The commission pointed out in its order that “in terms of Rule 6 of PPR, the instant proceedings are being carried out only deals with the confiscation of contributions or donations which are declared by the Election Commission to be prohibited, which is the case here.

“There are only two requirements of this rule, firstly; the party shall be put on notice and, secondly, the opportunity of being heard shall be granted to the party and in the instant case, both requirements of the law, have been met,” the order says. The Election Commission, through a consensus order, last year on August 02, had ruled that PTI had received prohibited funding/ contribution.

The commission said that it is a matter of record that pursuant to the decision of the commission dated April 14, 2021, eight regular working days from 9am to 2pm were allowed to both the parties i.e. the complainant Akbar S Babar and the defendant (PTI) for inspection/ scrutiny of record/documents.

In another order in relation to a complaint filed by JI Naib Amir and chairman of Election Cell Karachi, Arif Sultan Minhas about post-poll rigging due to certain irregularities, illegalities and recounting etc and action against district returning officers and returning officers, the commission said, “After pursuing all the record and reports submitted by the inquiry committee, concerned ROs and DROs and other concerned parties, we have reached the conclusion that the instant complaint has substance warranting action by the commission in terms of Article 218(3) of the Constitution, Section 95(5) of the Elections ct, 2017, and Rule 40 (4) of the Sindh Local Councils (Elections) Rules, 2015”. “Therefore, a recount of votes of the (17) polling stations…shall be carried out by the respective returning officers in the presence of respective district election commissioners who are directed to issue notices to all the concerned parties and the presiding officers to their officers, and conduct recounting of the votes and submit the reports to the office within three days.