Rehbar Committee submits memorandum urging ECP to hear PTI foreign funding case daily

Updated November 20, 2019

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Members of the opposition's Rehbar Committee outside the Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Members of the opposition's Rehbar Committee outside the Election Commission of Pakistan on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

The opposition's Rehbar Committee on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to the secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) demanding that a case regarding the scrutiny of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) foreign funds be heard on a daily basis.

The memorandum was submitted following a meeting of the opposition committee with the secretary of the ECP.

PTI’s founding member Akbar S. Babar had filed the case in 2014, alleging that nearly $3 million in illegal foreign funds were collected through two offshore companies and that money was sent through illegal 'hundi' channels from the Middle East to accounts of 'PTI employees'. He had also alleged that the foreign accounts used to collect funds were concealed from the annual audit reports submitted to the ECP.

A scrutiny committee was formed in March last year to complete an audit of PTI's funding sources in one month. Its mandate was later extended for an indefinite period.

In October, the ECP had rejected four applications filed by PTI seeking secrecy during the scrutiny of its foreign funding sources.

Prior to submitting the memorandum today, the Rehbar Committee held an informal meeting at Parliament House after which they staged a protest outside the ECP.

Various opposition leaders including JUI-F leader Akram Durrani, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal, PPP stalwart Farhatullah Babar and Nayyar Bukhari participated in the meeting as well as the protest that followed.

Speaking to media outside the ECP, Durrani said: "Our demand is that the case be heard on a daily basis so that there isn't a delay in it."

He said that once the case is concluded, neither PTI nor the current government would remain [in power].

"All parties are concerned why this case is pending," he said. "Some cases are heard day-to-day, the National Accountability Bureau calls us three times a week [...] but the delay in this case will damage the country."

Durrani announced that they were going to submit a written memorandum to the ECP signed by all Rehbar Committee parties.

He also urged the media to discuss the PTI foreign funding case on a daily basis.

Addressing the press conference, PPP leader Bukhari said that the case has been pending for five years because PTI lawyers were constantly submitting new petitions pertaining to the case.

Meanwhile, PML-N's Iqbal said: "This is the biggest corruption scandal in Pakistani politics."

He said that it was the duty of the chief election commissioner to resolve the case during his tenure, adding that that the PML-N has always said that all cases against its leadership should be heard in open trials.