ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) intends to challenge before the Supreme Court its registrar’s decision of returning a set of petitions the party had moved seeking proclamation about the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and opposition Pakistan Peoples Party being foreign-aided parties for receiving funds from prohibited sources.

The petitions were moved by PTI parliamentarians Asad Umar and Shireen Mazari on Sept 12 with a pleading to order forfeiture of the respective funds of both parties.

The petitions were filed as a counterblast since a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar is hearing a petition which was moved by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi against the PTI for being a foreign-aided and funded-party. Mr Abbasi has also sought disqualification of PTI chairman Imran Khan and secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen over non-disclosure of assets and existence of offshore companies.

The hearing of the petition will be resumed by the apex court on Tuesday (today).

But the registrar office returned the petitions of Asad Umar on Monday (Oct 2) and of Shireen Mazari last week on the grounds that the petitioners had not approached any other forum available to them under the law for the same relief, besides both had not provided any justification for not doing so.

Moreover, the registrar office had also raised another objection that certain documents provided along with the petitions did not fulfil the requirements of the Supreme Court rules.

Feeling aggrieved, Advocate Chaudhry Faisal Hussain, representing the two PTI leaders, intends to institute appeals against the order of the registrar office with a request that the petitions be entertained and heard by a bench of the apex court.

According to the Supreme Court rules, the appeal when filed will be heard by a judge of the apex court, whosoever be nominated by the chief justice.

In their petitions, the PTI leaders have argued that the court should order a detailed scrutiny of the accounts of the PML-N and PPP for the year 2013-15 after which the respective party leaders namely Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari be held guilty of misstatement under Article 13 of the Political Parties Order (PPO) as well as Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution that deal with disqualification of the parliamentarians.

One of the pleadings sought by the petitioners was that the court should give a declaration that the election symbol awarded to the parties by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) were in violation of Articles 6 and 13 of the PPO and, therefore, the parties be banned for acting against the integrity and sovereignty of Pakistan for being foreign-aided parties.

In his petition, Asad Umar had argued that the accounts of the PML-N for the year 2013-15 showed unverifiable assets of Rs27 million in total.

Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2017