ISLAMABAD: The scrutiny committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday disallowed the use of laptops for scrutiny of PTI accounts by two chartered accountants engaged by the petitioner in the foreign funding case.
The development took place on the first day of perusal of the accounts of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on the orders of the ECP.
The ECP had in its April 14 order authorised two financial analysts/chartered accountants to scrutinise the PTI accounts on behalf of petitioner Akbar S. Babar, a founding member of the PTI.
According to sources, when the perusal of initial set of the documents started, the PTI objected to the use of laptops by the two chartered accountants/financial experts nominated by the petitioner.
ECP rejects ruling party’s plea for review of order allowing perusal of accounts
Saima Tariq, the deputy director (law) who was supervising the process, initially allowed the use of laptops. But on PTI’s objection the petitioner was told not to use laptops for data recording and analysis.
The petitioner even offered to use ECP computers but was asked to submit an application for use of laptops to complete a formality.
Subsequently, the application to use computers was turned down after several hours.
However, after unsuccessfully pleading the case for use of laptops during the scrutiny process, the petitioner filed an application with the ECP, seeking a directive for the scrutiny committee to allow use of laptops for scrutiny of the PTI accounts.
In the application, Akbar S. Babar stated: “The use of laptops during the perusal process is essential to note down, compile, compare, evaluate and analyse voluminous financial documents in a limited time period of eight working days.”
It contended that the committee’s denial to use laptops “is clearly an effort to impede and obstruct a transparent and credible perusal of documents submitted by PTI”.
Later, talking to reporters, Mr Babar said that after the ECP’s rejection of the scrutiny committee’s initial report filed after 28-29 months in August 2020, it had lost all moral authority to continue and should have resigned.
In a related development, the ECP rejected PTI’s review petition against its April 14 order allowing the auditors to peruse the party’s accounts.
In its order, the ECP had asked the scrutiny committee to grant eight days to both parties for perusal of the record. Both the petitioner and the respondent were allowed to get the help of two financial experts each for perusal of the record.
Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2021