Sunday December 04, 2022

PTI again seeks time in funding case

June 08, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Tuesday sought more time from the Election Commission of Pakistan for concluding its arguments in the foreign funding case.

During the last hearing, the PTI had committed to the election commission’s three-member bench that arguments from its side would be completed June 7 or 8. As the PTI financial expert resumed his presentation before the three-member ECP bench June 7, he was again reminded by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to focus on the summary of financial details instead of deliberating on details that had already been argued.

The PTI submitted a written document detailing its financial details, however, it refused to share a copy of the document with the petitioner’s counsel despite repeated requests. The PTI counsel accused the petitioner of sharing details in public much to the detriment of his client. The accusation was vehemently denied by petitioner Akbar S. Babar.

Earlier, the PTI had filed a writ petition in the Islamabad High Court to keep its reply on the Scrutiny Committee Report secret from the petitioner. However, the writ petition was rejected both by the ECP and the IHC. And, it was later revealed that in the document the PTI had disowned 11 of its accounts run by its top leadership.

The petitioner had later claimed through documents and correspondence between the PTI Central Finance Board and the disowned banks that the PTI had misled the ECP and that in fact the disowned bank accounts were actually operated by the PTI Central Finance Board way back in December 2012.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the PTI again sought more time to conclude its arguments. Petitioner’s lawyer Syed Ahmad Hassan Shah objected to seeking more time. He said the PTI had filed yet another application before the IHC seeking that all political funding cases should be clubbed and decided together. He said this was unheard of and the delay in concluding arguments was a ploy to get some kind of an order from the IHC to delay the case for years. The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.

Later, talking to the media outside the ECP, Babar said the pandering of an accused continues as the PTI was allowed to renege on its commitments to conclude arguments. He said the PTI had committed to concluding in three days —- April 27, 28, and 29. However, on April 27 the PTI had falsely used the Intra-Court Appeal Order of suspending the 30-day deadline set by the IHC to refuse arguing the case. The next hearing date was set of May 10.

Finally, May 19, the PTI lawyer had wanted one more day to conclude arguments but had requested 10 day delay as he was proceeding to Switzerland. Again two days, June 1 and 2 were set as the days to conclude arguments. Again delays were sought.

Babar said the endless delays were in explicable and he lamented the state of justice in Pakistan. He said a similar case in Britain with similar findings would have meant that all the top political leaders of the party involved in financial fraud would have been jail by now.

“Not in Pakistan, where the powerful escape justice. Our constitutional bodies should learn a lesson from Britain where a sitting prime minister is put to the test by his own party members without invoking disqualification. If Pakistan has to come out of the rot that has destroyed its economy, the nurseries of leadership that remain political parties have to be cleansed,” he said. He regretted the delay in conclusion of the case and wondered should they resort to hunger strike before the election commission or what else they must to do to get justice.