Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday agreed to the formation of an investigative commission tasked with probing the party's funding from abroad.
The counsel for the party acquiesced to the same during a Supreme Court hearing of a petition filed by Hanif Abbasi arguing for the disqualification of the party on the grounds that it receives foreign funding.
During the proceedings, PTI's counsel Anwar Mansoor also stated that, based on its merits alone, Abbasi's application should not be deemed admissible under Article 184.
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The counsel further stated that the law has a prescribed procedure for investigating matters related to foreign funding, in response to which Chief Justice Saqib Nisar posed the question: "So you're trying to say that we should not hear the case under Article 184/3?"
"Yes, that is precisely what I want," Mansoor answered.
The PTI lawyer took the stance that, according to the law, the government should have investigated the matter and then filed a reference, after which the Supreme Court should have examined the case.
Pointing to the law that forbids political parties from accepting foreign funding, Mansoor stated that if a party is proven to have accepted foreign funding from an international entity, the federal government has 15 days to file a reference in the Supreme Court.
Responding to the counsel, the chief justice posed the question, "Does the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) not have the right to investigate a matter related to foreign funding? Do you agree that the Election Commission is the competent authority to investigate such matters?"
The chief justice also asked Mansoor if he questioned the ECP's right to investigate a case of foreign funding after general elections are held.
"Elections are held every five years. Does the ECP not reserve the right to investigate a matter of foreign funding based on a complaint four and a half years after elections?" he said.
The counsel responded that information regarding party accounts are submitted every year, prompting the Chief Justice Saqib Nisar to question: "Are you trying to say that the ECP cannot raise questions of foreign funding a year after a party's accounts are submitted?"
Justice Umer Atta Bandial maintained that the ECP is responsible for conducting elections and is therefore the relevant authority to investigate such matters.
The PTI lawyer then requested the court to form a commission to investigate the matter, to which the chief justice responded: "Why should we form a commission when we can send the matter to the ECP itself?"
Mansoor insisted that the court should form a commission to investigate the matter as he and his party were ready to be examined by one.
"You're representing a political party," the chief justice stated. "You should consult your clients before you make such statements."
The chief justice also observed that if the court decided to give the commission's responsibility to the ECP, the counsel should not have any reservations regarding that as well.
The hearing was adjourned till Wednesday.