The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday decided to scrutinise documents submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) regarding the party's finances without sharing them with former PTI leader and petitioner in the case, Akbar S. Babar.

Babar, a dissident founder member of the PTI, filed a case before the ECP in 2014. The party avoided submitting the required documents for nearly two years for one reason or the other; first approaching the Supreme Court to challenge the commission’s jurisdiction in the matter and later, challenging the maintainability of the case before the high court.

After months of foot-dragging, the PTI finally submitted account statements and documents detailing the funding it received from foreign sources over the past seven years to the ECP on Sept 18 despite being given several 'last warnings' by the commission ─ which went largely ignored ─ to submit the required documents.

During Monday's hearing of the case at the ECP before a four-judge bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner retd Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza, Babar's lawyer insisted that the PTI had not submitted the complete details of its finances.

The PTI's lawyer Saqlain Haider maintained, however, that all relevant financial details had been shared with the ECP.

The ECP bench decided to scrutinise the PTI's bank accounts, but said that the documents would not be shared with the petitioner.

"The account details will not be provided to the petitioner unless the Islamabad High Court asks the ECP to share the information," Justice Raza said.

Long-drawn case

The case was filed on Nov 14, 2014 by Babar, after he developed differences with the PTI chief over internal corruption and abuse of laws governing political funding.

The petitioner had alleged that nearly $3 million in illegal foreign funds were collected through two offshore companies, registered under Imran Khan’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.

In April 2015, after scrutinising PTI’s annual audit reports, the ECP had ordered that the party had failed to disclose the sources and details of foreign funds received.

But instead of submitting the accounts, the PTI had challenged the ECP’s jurisdiction to scrutinise its accounts.

In July, the Islamabad High Court rejected PTI's plea to prevent the ECP from hearing Babar's petition, saying that the case has been going on since 2014 and has already once been referred back to the ECP.

Opinion

Editorial

Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...
Isfahan strikes
Updated 20 Apr, 2024

Isfahan strikes

True de-escalation means Israel must start behaving like a normal state, not a rogue nation that threatens the entire region.
President’s speech
20 Apr, 2024

President’s speech

PRESIDENT Asif Ali Zardari seems to have managed to hit all the right notes in his address to the joint sitting of...
Karachi terror
20 Apr, 2024

Karachi terror

IS urban terrorism returning to Karachi? Yesterday’s deplorable suicide bombing attack on a van carrying five...