ISLAMABAD: Petitioner in foreign funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Akbar S. Babar submitted an application to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday that has sought permission for perusal of original documents, instead of photocopies.

He also requested that all the original documents be presented to financial analysts for review.

Sources revealed that vetting of the PTI accounts by two financial analysts, Arsa­lan Vardag and Mohammad Sohaib, continued on Friday.

In his application, Mr Babar has narrated in detail how the Scrutiny Committee formed for vetting the accounts has “deliberately tried to create hurdles in the perusal process”.

Time is not far when shocking revelations will come to light, says petitioner

It has explained how the committee refused to allow the use of laptops, brought in printouts, shared documents in a piecemeal fashion, and removed from the process the only original Habib Bank statements presented for perusal on Monday, on verbal demand of the PTI.

The application has said that all bank statements requisitioned by the State Bank of Pakistan must be allowed to be vetted as banking transactions have revealed the existence of banks accounts hidden from the process so far.

Mr Babar’s application has also assailed what it has called “the disruptive attitude of the PTI on whose frivolous objections the director general for law passes directives to the detriment of a transparent perusal process”.

Citing an example, the application has pointed out that when volume 9 of the PTI documents, consisting of papers relating to the party’s original HBL accounts, was presented for perusal, the PTI representatives physically surrounded them and asked the ECP staff to remove them; their wishes were complied with by the committee’s head within 15 minutes.

In his application, Mr Babar has listed the following reasons why original bank statements should be presented for vetting:

All documents that have been provided for perusal are photocopies and their authenticity cannot be established without vetting of the original papers.

Statements from the Bank of Punjab, Summit Bank Limited, Bank of Khyber and Bank Islami Limited don’t bear letterheads.

Statements from the Summit Bank, Habib Bank Limited, and MCB Bank have neither been stamped nor bear the signatures of bank managers.

Details of the PTI’s bank accounts of Bank Alfalah and KASB have neither been disclosed nor bank statements shared despite heavy transactions in those accounts as revealed by perusal of other accounts.

The next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee is scheduled for May 17.

Talking to reporters on Friday, Mr Babar said: “All we demand is perusal of original documents, review of all bank statements, including the six international PTI bank accounts admitted by it, and the details of funds received in front accounts of four PTI Central Office employees, also admitted by the PTI.”

He said that he and his team were “proceeding with the perusal process under cha­llenging circumstances in a limited timeframe of a few days. In comparison, the Scr­utiny Committee wasted three years without any probe or authentication of evidence. If the ECP cooperates, we are determined to conclude the perusal process in days”.

He said that refusal to investigate front accounts of the PTI employees admittedly used for collecting donations from within Pakistan and abroad is the “primary evidence of the committee’s policy of fact-hiding instead of fact-finding”.

“How can the ECP come to credible conclusions when incriminating facts are hidden from it,” said Mr Babar. He, however, added that the time was not far off when shocking facts would come to light.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2021

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