ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) filed an appeal on Wednesday against an order of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that the foreign funding case be decided within 30 days.

Asad Umar, the party’s secretary general, filed the appeal against the order of a single-member bench which directed the ECP to conclude the proceedings in the foreign funding case within 30 days and warned former prime minister Imran Khan of consequences if it was established he received funds from prohibited sources.

The PTI petition sought a directive by the court that the sources of foreign funding be kept confidential. But Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, who gave the order for a decision within 30 days, termed the petition non-maintainable, misconceived and an attempt to bar Akbar S. Babar from taking part in the ECP proceedings.

The appeal stated the single-member bench held that the ECP was a constitutional entity by itself and the IHC had no supervisory jurisdiction over it.

It went on to argue that the order amounted to “intruding into the ECP’s domain”.

Since the matter before the ECP is inquisitorial in nature, and not adversarial, the submission made by the PTI that Babar be barred from further proceedings before the ECP was in accordance with the law and keeping in view the nature of proceedings as being inquisitorial.

The PTI expressed reservations over Justice Kayani’s remarks that “if any of the party funding has been received through prohibited sources, it will affect the status of such political party, including its chairman. Therefore, it is necessary to dig out the truth”.

According to the appeal, these observations were not warranted as the “judge was not mandated to use such harsh language to the utter disadvantage of the appellant”.

The ECP had on March 15 dismissed the PTI’s two applications seeking to exclude their disgruntled founding member, Mr Babar who filed the petition, from the case.

The PTI had also urged the ECP not to share records of the case, including the documents requisitioned through the State Bank, with Mr Babar.

It said that the ECP had “failed to appreciate the real issue in the matter, which was contained in the report of the Scrutiny Committee”, adding that there were three parts of the report.

Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2022

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