The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) to satisfy the bench regarding the party's collection of foreign funds and sources of funding, as well as an audit of its finances.

Hearing a petition filed by PML-N's Hanif Abbasi, a three-member bench of the SC headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Saqib Nisar asked the PTI to submit a detailed reply regarding these three points.

The Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) counsel informed the court that the ECP had never been informed about the PTI's foreign funding despite the party being required to share details of its funding with the ECP.

Justice Nisar inquired whether certain forms of funding were prohibited according to the Political Parties Ordinance Section 6(3), to which the PTI's legal counsel Anwar Mansoor responded that the sources of funds obtained by the PTI were not prohibited.

"How does the ECP decide whether funds are from prohibited sources?" Justice Nisar asked Mansoor. PTI's counsel replied that it investigates the documents submitted by political parties and does not have the authority to investigate matters on its own since it lacks suo moto powers.

Mansoor added that the ECP only had administrative powers and was different from a tribunal which holds judicial powers.

The ECP’s lawyer argued that PTI had, itself, submitted a statement certifying non-acceptance of foreign funds, whereas under Section 6(3) of the Ordinance, party funding could not come from foreign sources.

The bigger issue, according to ECP's counsel, was that the PTI had not mentioned foreign sources ─ prohibited or allowed ─ in its affidavit. Articles 62 and 63 could be invoked in such matters, the ECP's counsel, Ibrahim Satti, observed.

Hanif Abbasi's counsel, Akram Sheikh, raised the issue of incomplete details of funding provided by the PTI.

Sheikh questioned whether the details provided to chartered accountants examining the party's sources of funding were complete or incomplete.

"Has the PTI provided the chartered accountants a complete list of donors?" he asked. "The accountants will prepare their report on the basis of this information," he said.

"In some places, the donor names are missing, and in others, their addresses," Sheikh said.

Sheikh also claimed PTI had received funds from 195 multinational corporations from California and foreigners, including Indian citizens.

The apex court maintained that the ECP held the authority to examine the funding of political parties and there could be no compromise on its authority.

Adjourning the case until tomorrow, Justice Nisar observed that the case could be forwarded to ECP for investigation through special powers and had consulted with the parties on the move.

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