ISLAMABAD: A member of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has observed that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is using delaying tactics in the foreign funding case.

When an ECP bench resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, PTI’s finance secretary Sardar Azhar Tariq requested the commission to adjourn the proceedings because the party’s lawyer Anwar Man­soor Khan had some engagement at the Supreme Court.

However, ECP member from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa retired Justice Irshad Qaiser noted that the PTI was using delaying tactics and observed that any more delay can damage the ECP’s credibility. She pointed out that the respondent took shelter behind stay orders to prolong the case.

Petitioner Akbar S. Babar’s lawyer Syed Ahmed Hasan also objected to the PTI’s tactics and said there was enough evidence before the ECP that the respondent party had collected funds in different countries and concealed them from the commission. He demanded that the PTI should be issued a show-cause notice and proceeded against under the law without further delay.

The case was adjourned till Feb 20.

The case has been pending before the ECP since November 2014.

The PTI filed writ petitions in the Islamabad High Court twice seeking suspension of scrutiny of its accounts by the ECP, questioning its jurisdiction and locus standi of the petitioner and founding member of the party, Mr Babar.

Last month, a single bench of the IHC had rejected the PTI’s objections regarding the locus standi of Mr Babar as well as the powers of the ECP to scrutinise its accounts without any time bar or other restrictions. The IHC order had cited the Supreme Court judgment in the foreign funding case where it had emphatically rejected PTI’s arguments made before the apex court questioning the powers of the ECP to hear the case.

Talking to reporters, Mr Babar criticised the PTI’s delaying tactics. He said Imran Khan had been avoiding accountability for over three years. He said there could be no change in Pakistan without first making political parties accountable and transparent.

PTI leader Sardar Azhar Tariq, however, claimed that his party was not involved in any wrongdoing. He said the PTI had submitted all documents in compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court and IHC.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2018

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