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National

March 8, 2018

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ECP seeks more time in PTI foreign funding case

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday sought more time to deliberate upon further action in the PTI foreign funding case.

The four-member bench, headed by Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza sought more time to discuss further action in the foreign funding case and adjourned hearing until March 12. The case was first filed in November 2014 by PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar after developing differences with PTI Chairman Imran Khan over internal corruption.

On the last hearing date, the ECP had reserved its order on how to proceed in the case after the IHC had rejected all PTI objections on the jurisdiction as well as the locus standi of the petitioner Akbar S. Babar.

When the case resumed for hearing on Wednesday, the CEC stated that the ECP could not consult all its members and hence sought more time. Afterwards, talking to the media, the petitioner and founding member of PTI Akbar S. Babar stated that even after over 1200 days or 3 years and 3 months since the case was filed, it remains unadjudicated. He said the case is about illegal money in politics that is never documented by political parties or held accountable for it.

“It is matter of national security when political parties cannot be held accountable for the billions of rupees raised from illegal sources, which is used to direct or misdirect Pakistan’s politics,” he noted. Babar urged that the case should not be delayed any further as the Supreme Court had fully empowered the ECP to proceed in the matter and conduct any investigations it deemed appropriate. He said the matter has acquired more urgency as elections are merely a few months away and the final judgment would have a bearing on whether PTI can contest elections on its allotted symbol or not.

Babar said if the matter of illegal political funding had been settled in earnest, the role of black money in manipulating Senate Elections may have been addressed. He said on the one hand Imran complains about horse trading and yet allocates tickets to the rich with zero contribution to PTI and its politics.

“When money becomes the sole criteria of allocating tickets, how can MPAs be expected not to cash their opportunity of selling their conscience,” he added.

Babar said when Imran acknowledges that PTI MPAs sold their votes for about Rs 4 crores each it amounts to an admission of his failure in leading PTI in a transparent manner where rules and regulations prevail instead of the whims of the chairman.

“For someone who never stops quoting western leaders, Imran Khan should resign and accept responsibility for his failure. Any western leader of any integrity would have done the same if his party members had sold their conscience to the highest bidder,” he said.

Babar said he had forewarned about the impending corruption in the Senate elections when PTI tickets were awarded to individuals whose sole merit was their money. He criticized Imran Khan for demanding the CJP to take notice of horse-trading in Senate elections.

He said political leaders are responsible for the corruption in politics and they must be held accountable instead of crying wolf about it. He said 80 percent of PTI senators have nothing to do with PTI and their only merit for award Senate tickets was their fat purse.

Babar said according to Imran Khan there can be no corruption if the leader is not corrupt. Now that he has acknowledged massive corruption and horse-trading by PTI MPAs in the Senate elections, is it not fair to conclude that he is also responsible for it.

Babar said Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed was appointed head of a tribunal by Imran Khan himself to investigate corruption in PTI intra party elections. And, when he held Pervaiz Khattak responsible and expelled him from the party for corruption, instead of upholding his decision, Imran expelled his own appointed judge from the party.

By doing so, he continued, he sent the wrong message loud and clear that PTI is his personal domain where the law of the jungle prevails. He said when a two member PTI committee of Gen Ali Quli Khan and Gen Taj found Azam Swati of indulging in buying of votes during PTI intra party elections, instead of taking action, Imran Khan appointed him CEC PTI and awarded him a Senate ticket for a second term.

Babar said when the Supreme Court of Pakistan declared a top PTI leader as a ‘Liar’ what justification does Imran Khan have to still keep him in the defacto number two position other than for his money, helicopter, plane, and land cruisers. Babar said when the party leader outsources corruption, why should he not expect others in the party to also take advantage of money making opportunities such as Senate elections.

“For someone who never stops quoting Western leaders on democracy, I ask Imran Khan what would have David Cameron done if his party members had sold their conscience? He would have resigned instead of crying hoarse in public,” he said.

Babar said that not only should CJP take notice of horse-trading but he should also demand from those leaders crying hoarse to answer about their role to ensure merit in award of party tickets.

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