ECP rejects PTI’s four applications in foreign funding case
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday dismissed four pleas of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the foreign funding case.
The ECP ruled that the Scrutiny Committee would continue its work, ordering both parties to appear before the committee on October 14.
On October 1, the Election Commission of Pakistan reserved its verdict on four applications by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) seeking secrecy in the scrutiny of its foreign funding case.
Akbar S Babar, former PTI member and petitioner, had filed the foreign funding case before the ECP in 2014, alleging that nearly $3 million in illegal foreign funds were collected through two offshore companies and that money was sent through illegal ‘hundi’ channels from the Middle East to accounts of PTI employees.
He had also alleged that the foreign accounts used to collect funds were concealed from the annual audit reports submitted to the ECP.
During the previous hearing, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza said that the PTI had submitted four new miscellaneous applications to the committee, adding that they ‘just wanted to increase the burden of work. He said that the investigative committee had forwarded the applications to him so that he could make a decision.
PTI counsel, in all four applications, had demanded that the leakage of information should be stopped, in response to which the chief election commissioner inquired what the committee had to do with information being shared on media.
Akbar S Babar Babar’s counsel Ahmed Hassan said that the State Bank of Pakistan had told the scrutiny committee about 23 accounts that received party funding. “People within the party had leaked information to the television reports they were mentioning. The party was using information being leaked as an excuse and running away from the case,” he contended.
Akbar S Babar Babar had filed the foreign funding case before the ECP in 2014 after he developed differences with PTI chairman Imran Khan over alleged internal corruption and abuse of laws governing political funding.
He had alleged that nearly $3 million in illegal foreign funds were collected through two offshore companies, registered under Imran’s signature, and that money was sent through illegal ‘hundi’ channels from the Middle East to accounts of PTI employees. He also alleged that the foreign accounts used to collect funds were concealed from the annual audit reports submitted to the ECP.
For over a year, the proceedings of the case were delayed in the ECP as the PTI had filed a writ petition in October 2015 in the Islamabad High Court seeking to restrain the ECP scrutiny of its accounts.
In February 2017, the IHC remanded the case back to the ECP for a fresh review of its jurisdiction. On May 8 of the same year, a full bench of the ECP once again expressed its complete jurisdiction over the case and stated that the PTI had failed to produce any evidence that the petitioner had been expelled from the party and hence lost the right to question PTI accounts.
In March 2018, a scrutiny committee was formed to look into PTI foreign funding accounts.