ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday reserved its judgement on a plea against its scrutiny committee’s order to keep the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) financial documents secret.
These documents include the mostly secret 23 PTI bank statements revealed on the instructions of the State Bank of Pakistan. The order may have significant consequences for the long pending foreign funding case filed by PTI’s founding member and petitioner Akbar S. Babar in November 2014.
In its February 9 order, the ECP scrutiny committee had stated that besides other reasons, the documents could not be shared with the petitioner as the respondent (PTI) objected to it.
Tuesday’s hearing was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and three ECP members retired Justice Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi, Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi were part of the bench.
PTI’s counsel Syed Khawar Shah said the party’s financial documents could not be shared as the onus of proving prohibited funding rested with the petitioner.
He said the documents sought were not public ones and disputed the ECP orders that allowed access to all documents under scrutiny. The counsel claimed that when the ECP orders were passed no significant documents were submitted to the scrutiny committee.
Petitioner’s counsel Syed Ahmad Hassan Shah made exhaustive references to the previous ECP orders and the law that justified the petitioner’s access to all PTI documents, which are now with the scrutiny committee.
Mr Shah said that it was a right under the law of a member of a political party to access all financial documents of the party.
Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2021