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ISLAMABAD: During a hearing of the foreign funding case, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday formed a committee to scrutinise the accounts of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), with the directions that it should submit a report within a month.

The decision was made by a five-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza. The scrutiny committee will be headed by the ECP director general law.

The scrutiny committee will include two members of the ECP and its financial experts. The scrutiny of the accounts will be done in the presence of the petitioner, his lawyers and authorised representatives of the PTI and their lawyers.

The decision was made three years after the foreign funding case was first filed, in November 2014, by a founding member of the PTI, Akbar S. Babar.

The order was read by the chief election commissioner, who said the first meeting of the scrutiny committee will be held on March 19 this year and that it will finalise its report within a month of its formation.

Talking to the media, petitioner Akbar S. Babar said this is a major development in holding PTI and its leadership to account. He said he was confident that the probe will lead to major disclosures regarding how the PTI raised illegal and undocumented funds from abroad.

“I hope that after the full disclosure of the massive corruption, all those responsible for managing PTI accounts, including its chairman and members of its finance committee, will be banned for life from holding office in any political party in Pakistan,” he said.

He hoped the party will not challenge the ECP’s decision to form a scrutiny committee and that cases regarding illegal money in politics are never documented nor is anyone held accountable for it.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2018