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December 3, 2019

Foreign Funding case: ECP scrutiny body resumes hearing


December 3, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) Scrutiny Committee Monday resumed proceedings regarding PTI accounts and apparently, it would not be able to furnish its report on the matter before the electoral body becomes dysfunctional.

Needless to say that there is still a question mark exactly when the vacant posts of the two Election Commission members will be filled. The members from Sindh and Balochistan had completed their term several months back.

This was the 45th meeting of the committee, formed in March 2018 to complete scrutiny as its mandate was subsequently extended indefinitely. However, it was learnt that there seemed no end to its proceedings in near future.

Sources said that lawyers Syed Ahmad Hassan and Badar Iqbal Chaudhry on behalf of the petitioner and PTI founding member Akbar S Babar once again presented the evidence pending before the ECP since November 2014.

The evidence, they noted, included almost $3 million transmitted from the USA through two companies 5975 and 6160 US registered under the signatures of PTI Chairman Imran Khan. Other evidence included funds transferred from PTI UK through two Lloyds Bank Accounts maintained in Britain not disclosed before Election Commission. More evidence included alleged illegal funding from Denmark and the Middle East. The committee was expected to complete scrutiny on daily basis and submit its findings to the Election Commission to conclude the PTI foreign funding case before the incumbent CEC Justice (R) Sardar Muhammad Raza retires on December 6, 2019. However, this seemed unlikely as the scrutiny committee’s next meeting is scheduled for December 4 when the PTI is once again expected to respond to the petitioner’s allegations.

It is pertinent that this is fourth time that the allegations are being responded, twice before the ECP and the second time before the ECP Scrutiny Committee. The PTI responses to these allegations before the committee was considered inadequate earlier when they were asked to submit financial documents based on a ten-point list.

It was PTI’s failure to provide the documents that the ECP had to write to the State Bank of Pakistan to facilitate providing all PTI bank accounts through the scheduled banks of Pakistan. As a consequence, 23 bank accounts of PTI were revealed whereas only 8 were declared before the electoral body.

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