ECP takes up PTI foreign funding case today

Updated Jun 02 2020

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The last hearing was scheduled for March 19, but was cancelled due to the lockdown. — AFP
The last hearing was scheduled for March 19, but was cancelled due to the lockdown. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The Elec­tion Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will take up for hearing the foreign funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Tuesday (today) after a break of over two months.

The last hearing was scheduled for March 19, but was cancelled due to the lockdown.

On Tuesday, the ECP is set to hear applications filed by Akbar S. Babar accusing the PTI of hurling death threats as well as harassing him through defamation cases.

The commission will deliberate on the petitioner’s written statement challenging the transparency of the scrutiny carried out by an ECP committee.

The ECP will hear the PTI’s latest application accusing the petitioner of leaking information to the media on the scrutiny process and passing disparaging remarks about its credibility.

The ECP’s scrutiny committee, formed in March 2018 to audit the PTI’s accounts for the 2009-13 period, is also scheduled to meet on Tuesday afternoon. The committee was initially mandated to complete the scrutiny of PTI accounts in one month. Later the timeframe was extended indefinitely.

The committee has so far met on 70 occasions, but has failed to complete its inquiry and submit its findings before the ECP.

The ECP had last week issued a notice to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal asking him to appear before it on June 2 (today) to present evidence against the PTI in the foreign funding case.

Ahsan Iqbal, through a letter to the ECP, had sought day-to-day hearing in the case as it has been pending for five years.

He had also asked the ECP to make public the record of undeclared accou­nts maintained by the party. Banks had shared the record with the commission on the State Bank’s directives.

The foreign funding case against PTI continues to linger before the ECP since Nov 2014, when it was filed by the party’s founding member, Akbar S. Babar.

He alleged serious financial irregularities in PTI’s accounts. The allegations made by Mr Babar included illegal sources of funding, concealment of bank acco­unts in the country and abroad, money laundering, and using private bank acc­ounts of PTI employees as a front to receive illegal donations from the Middle East.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2020