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S
Sabah
November 22, 2019

ECP to hear PTI foreign funding case daily from 26th

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S
Sabah
November 22, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday accepted opposition’s application to conduct proceedings in foreign funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on a daily basis from November 26 onwards.

A day earlier, members of the joint opposition’s Rahbar Committee had lodged protest in front of the ECP office, demanding daily hearing in the case and subsequently submitted an application pleading with the electoral body to decide the case before the expiry of the incumbent chief election commissioner’s (CEC) term next month.

In the absence of CEC Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan, two members of the electoral body presided over the hearing and accepted the application. The application pointed out that the foreign funding case against the PTI had been pending with the ECP for the past five years, while all relevant documents were available for proceedings. “We urge that in the interest of justice the case may be heard on a daily basis and decided at the earliest during the term of the CEC,” it stated.

The application addressed to the CEC was signed by Rahbar Committee’s convener and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Akram Khan Durrani, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Parliamentarian’s Secretary General Farhatullah Khan Babar, PPP Secretary General Nayyar Hussain Bukhari, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal, Awami National Party’s (ANP) Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith’s Mohammad Shafiq Pasroori, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s Senator Usman Khan Kakar and National Party’s Mir Tahir Khan Bizenjo.

On November 7, the PTI had filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) challenging the ECP’s decision to reject its applications against an audit of the party’s foreign funding. The ruling party requested the court to restrain the scrutiny committee formed by the ECP from probing the party’s foreign funding.

On October 10, the ECP had rejected four applications filed by the PTI seeking secrecy in the scrutiny of the foreign funding case against the party, and directed the special scrutiny committee to continue its investigation into the case.

In a previous hearing on October 1, a three-member bench headed by CEC Raza Khan had examined a report compiled by the scrutiny committee and after hearing the arguments of the parties concerned adjourned the proceedings till October 10.

The hearing resumed after 18 months. The bench had observed that the scrutiny committee found details of 23 accounts held by the PTI.On the four applications, the PTI’s counsel had taken a stance that false speculations on the media were being spread to defame the party’s reputation and demanded from the ECP to ensure prevention of information leakage. The party’s counsel further asked the bench to take stern action on spreading false information about the matter.

For the scrutiny of foreign funding, the ECP had already issued notices to the parties concerned, including the PTI and Akbar S Babar who had filed the case in November 2014 after he developed differences with the party.

For over a year the proceedings of the case were delayed in the ECP as the PTI had filed a writ petition in October 2015 in the IHC seeking to restrain the ECP from scrutinising its accounts. In March 2018, a scrutiny committee was formed to look into PTI’s foreign funding accounts to ascertain any malpractice.

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