The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday agreed to form a commission investigating whether the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) acquired foreign funding from prohibited sources during a hearing on the case in the Supreme Court.
The SC was hearing a petition filed by PML-N's Hanif Abbasi seeking PTI Chairman Imran Khan's disqualification on the basis of allegations that his party had acquired funding from prohibited foreign sources.
There are three parties in the case ─ the PTI, Abbasi, and the ECP. Earlier, the PTI and Abbasi both had consented to formation of a commission to investigate whether the party had acquired funds from prohibited sources.
The ECP, through its counsel Ibrahim Satti, told the apex court today that the body had no objection to the formation of a commission to probe the PTI's funds, and that it would cooperate if the SC chose to form one.
Satti also said that this was the first time a political party's foreign funding was being investigated, adding that political parties do not even feel the need to submit information relating to domestic funding.
However, the ECP can act against a party if it is notified that the party has submitted incorrect information to it, Satti said. The party involved in such fraud can be "banned or stopped from working," Satti said.
The ECP's counsel also claimed that political parties do not follow ECP regulations when it comes to election expenditures and spend excessively in an attempt to win elections.
Expressing helplessness at the situation, he said that party tickets are sold for more than the official limit for election expenditure.
In a previous hearing of the same case, Akram Sheikh, the petitioner's counsel, had stirred up a hornets’ nest when he claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had received $3.5 million from February 2010 to date from 178 multinational corporations (MNC) and ghost donors. He had further claimed that a number of such organisations were Indian.