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January 22, 2021

ECP opposes public hearing of funding case

Top Story

 
January 22, 2021

Ag Agencies

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) voiced its opposition to holding public proceedings in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) foreign funding case, a spokesman said on Thursday, insisting the decision would be based on “merit” and “national interest”.

According to Geo News, the spokesperson said the scrutiny committee’s powers are similar to that of a joint investigation team, the spokesman said, “which is why the hearings cannot be held publicly”. “A public hearing will also make it difficult for the committee to work,” he added.

The spokesman said it was an “important and sensitive case” for which the ruling would be based on “merit” and “national interest”. “Unnecessary and unsubstantiated comments on the case should be avoided,” he said.

According to the spokesman, the case was already being heard in the ECP with the petitioners present. He added that a scrutiny committee hears the points of view of both the party accused as well as the complainant. The official stated that after reviewing the positions, the committee would forward its “comprehensive recommendations” to the ECP. The ECP would then put forward these recommendations to both the parties in an open hearing, he said.

“The ECP will hear the arguments of both sides and decide the case on merit,” said the spokesperson, adding that the body will decide the case “without any fear or pressure”. The statement by the ECP comes a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan challenged the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to sit down and allow proceedings of the foreign funding case to be aired live on TV.

On Thursday, PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafiq accepted the challenge and said after six years of “hiding behind stay orders” the Premier wants a public hearings, so “let him fulfil his wishes”.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said the foreign funding case would become important and would be a “Panama 2”, referring to the Panama Papers leaks.