Tuesday May 28, 2024

PTI foreign funding case: Petitioner’s lawyer concludes arguments before ECP

By Mumtaz Alvi
June 21, 2022

ISLAMABAD: After the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawyer concluded his arguments last week, the petitioner’s lawyer Ahmad Hassan Shah also concluded his arguments before the Election Commission of Pakistan on Monday in the PTI foreign funding case.

Lastly, on Tuesday, the petitioner’s chartered accountant Arsalan Vardag will speak on the financial aspects of the case and the points raised by the PTI team before the ECP. Afterwards, the commission may reserve its judgement on the case or seek further assistance from any side, if needed.

Shah dwelt at length over the legal aspects and dispelled the attempts by the PTI counsel, apparently to mislead the commission. He pointed out that Article 5 of the Constitution only allowed Pakistanis to support political parties or participate in political activities. He disputed the PTI claim that details of funds received from Canada, Australia and other countries were an erroneous argument as political parties were governed under Pakistan’s law. Then, he read out clauses of the US FARA Act that allowed individuals to be registered as agents, negating the PTI counsel’s argument that the US law did not allow individuals to directly remit donations and hence the need to form companies in the US by the PTI.

The petitioner’s lawyer contended that the PTI, despite acknowledging foreign chapters and financial policy, neither submitted a single audit report of its foreign chapters nor did it provide a single bank statement of its international bank accounts.

Shah said the PTI disowned eleven of its accounts disclosed through the State Bank of Pakistan, whereas he shared PTI documents that showed the PTI’s Central Finance Board and central finance secretary operating the accounts in 2012. He questioned the validity of an undated affidavit of Arif Naqvi and others as the PTI failed to submit certified or notarized originals of the affidavit as committed by the PTI counsel. Shah said there was conclusive evidence that prohibited funding was received, accounts and financial information was concealed and the PTI chairman filed false certificates year after year, failing to provide a true picture of PTI finances.

He requested the ECP to apply the full force of law including serving a show cause notice on the PTI on the facts already established regarding prohibited funding and concealment of facts and direct the PTI to reveal the facts that remained concealed.

Later, talking to media outside the ECP, the petitioner and PTI founding member, Akbar S Babar, said the ECP had a historic opportunity to enforce the laws regulating political parties. Doing so would open new doors of transforming political parties into nurseries for a credible leadership. He said Pakistan’s present economic predicaments were the fallout of poor leadership. Pakistan’s present leadership should seek help from the best Pakistani origin economists in the world to prepare the plan B and C in case the economic rescue plan A with the IMF did not work. Babar said the Cabinet Committee on National Security should meet on a weekly basis, inviting leading economists to monitor and present solutions to the economic crisis before it was too late.