ISLAMABAD: The joint opposition on Thursday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to adjudicate upon the foreign funding case against the ruling PTI without any further delay.
A delegation of the joint opposition comprising representatives from the PML-N, PPP, JUI-F, ANP and BNP called on Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja and submitted a letter demanding early conclusion of the foreign funding case pending since November 14, 2014.
The case was filed by PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar, who alleged serious financial irregularities in the ruling party’s funding from Pakistan and abroad.
The letter states that the foreign funding case is a matter of national security, upholding rule of law, democratic norms and neutrality and credibility of the ECP.
On January 4 this year, the ECP’s scrutiny committee, formed in March 2018 to examine the PTI’s foreign funding in one month, finally submitted its report after 95 hearings and nearly four years.
The report, based on eight volumes of record requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan, proves that the PTI leadership had committed gross violations of funding laws by allowing collection of millions of dollars and billions of rupees without any source and details from foreigners, including Indian nationals and foreign companies.
The ECP heard the case on no less than 75 occasions and passed at least 21 orders directing the PTI to file documents and financial records, but there had been no response so far. “The PTI sought written and/or oral adjournment on various pretexts to delay the case.”
The opposition’s letter says there is no doubt that the PTI’s delaying tactics are meant to delay the final verdict, which is imminent, including that from the SBP. Now there is no moral or legal reason left to further delay the case.
It says the PTI is in contempt of the ECP for not filing its comments on the scrutiny committee’s report shared with it since January 4 despite repeated verbal commitments before the ECP. The last such commitment was made by the PTI on March 1 when it committed to submitting its comments on the scrutiny committee’s report in two days.
The letter demands that the foreign funding case be concluded on March 15 and, if at all needed, the case be heard on a daily basis to ensure final judgement as soon as possible.
Speaking on the occasion, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal alleged that the PTI and its chairman Imran Khan had committed the biggest political fraud in the form of foreign funding, which was being used to sabotage the political system and trigger instability.
He claimed that billions of rupees were received from overseas Pakistanis, foreigners and foreign firms and anti-Pakistan sources in total disregard of the Constitution and trampling dozens of related laws.
Faisal Karim Kundi of the Peoples Party demanded that the names of Imran Khan and his cabinet members be put on the ECL as they would now try to flee the country because they had received funds even from enemy countries to destabilise the political system in Pakistan.
“We all are here to request the ECP to announce decision in the foreign funding case early as corruption of Imran Khan has been exposed. Now, the next destination of Imran Khan will be Adiyala jail. We would not let him go away,” he added.
The ANP’s Mian Iftikhar Hussain said they were reminding the ECP of the foreign funding case, alleging that Imran Khan and his coterie had destroyed the country’s political system.
Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2022