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Monday October 03, 2022

PTI foreign funding case: ECP issues notices to PTI, Scrutiny Committee for 22nd

A three-member ECP bench headed by Justice (retd) Ms Irshad Qaiser heard the complaint. The notices were issued before the Election Commission decides on the secrecy of scrutiny in the PTI foreign funding case, it was learnt.

By Our Correspondent
March 17, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan on Tuesday issued notices to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the ECP Scrutiny Committee to appear before it on March 22 in relation to keeping secret the PTI foreign funding documents.

The development came following the hearing of a complaint of the petitioner of the foreign funding case, Akbar S Babar, against the Scrutiny Committee's decision to keep PTI documents secret. A three-member ECP bench headed by Justice (retd) Ms Irshad Qaiser heard the complaint. The notices were issued before the Election Commission decides on the secrecy of scrutiny in the PTI foreign funding case, it was learnt.

The petitioner's lawyer Ahmad Hassan Shah made arguments, challenging the decision of the committee to keep PTI accounts secret. He invoked the Right to Information Act to seek access to the documents. He said access to PTI documents is a right of the petitioner in light of Article 5(4) of the Political Parties Order 2002 as well as Section 203(5) of the Election Act 2017.

He contended that by keeping the documents secret, the Scrutiny Committee is violating the ToRs of the scrutiny that clearly demands scrutiny in the presence of both parties. Without access to all PTI accounts, he said, the scrutiny process would remain a sham and a mere attempt to rubberstamp fake documents.

He said the secrecy order of the Scrutiny Committee is illegal as there is no provision of law or any legal, equitable or judicious basis for keeping secret the documents as well as the dictates of Articles 4 and 10A of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973. About the performance of the committee, Shah regretted that other than writing a letter to the SBP to seek PTI accounts, there has been no investigation into the credible evidence provided regarding illegal funding from across the globe. He read out excerpts of the Scrutiny Committee order sheets where the committee has refused to share the accounts on the PTI pressure.

Later, talking to the reporters outside the Election Commission of Pakistan, while referring to the government demand for the Election Commission to resign, Babar alleged PM Imran Khan feared if the details of the concealed bank accounts come into light, it can reveal billions of rupees of illegal funding to the concealed PTI accounts.

“This could open a Pandora's box leading to charges of money laundering, corruption, and concealment of accounts against PM Imran Khan and others as they operated these accounts,” he argued. The founding PTI member said the PM also feared that the ECP could seek the SBP’s assistance in requisitioning the private bank accounts of four PTI employees authorized by the six-member PTI finance board in July 2011 to collect donations from Pakistan and abroad.

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