ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday gave one month more to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to reply to the show-cause notice for seizure of its prohibited funds. The ECP had announced last week it would decide on the matter on the basis of available record if the PTI failed to give response by June 6. A three-member commission bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, resumed hearing in the show-cause notice served on PTI on the basis of commission’s judgment on August 2 last year in the foreign funding case. The case was filed by one of PTI’s founding members, Akbar S Babar, eight years ago. The ECP adjourned the hearing till July 6 on the request of PTI senior lawyer Anwar Mansoor. The lawyer contended, “Unidentified persons have taken away all the records from our office.” To this, the chief election commissioner said the Election Commission has given the verdict in the main case. “If you have to challenge the decision, you may approach the concerned forum,” he said. The PTI lawyer said the commission had given the order during the last hearing. The matter is very serious at the moment “as unidentified persons have taken away all the records from our office,” he said.
He explained the PTI offices are currently closed and officials have gone into hiding, and that he was trying to get the related record. To this, Member Sindh of the Commission, Nisar Durrani, said, “The record is with you and with us.” Anwar Mansoor said they had also ordered more records from abroad. “What should I argue in the absence of records,” he said. The CEC clarified the case now pertained to seizure of banned funding. “The Election Commission has given the verdict in the main case. If you want to challenge the decision, given on the basis of facts, you may approach the concerned forum,” he said. The lawyer said he had already filed initial reply to the notice. He requested for more time to submit a detailed reply. The CEC said the case cannot be adjourned indefinitely.
He said, “The companies that gave banned funding to PTI have to be explained. If you tell in writing that record is not available, then we will give the verdict.” However, the lawyer requested for one month’s time to respond, citing tough time the political party was facing. The CEC said such situations keep coming on while you do politics in Pakistan. “There is no need to worry too much about it.” He accepted the request and gave four more weeks to submit a reply.