ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan has moved an application before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), asking it to decide all foreign funding cases together.

The ECP reserved its judgement on the most recent PTI application in a series of applications and writ petitions to delay a verdict in the almost eight-year-old foreign funding case.

The hearing resumed on Tuesday and PTI lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan once again repeated the legal provisions of political funding. He concluded his arguments by committing that the PTI would conclude its arguments on Wednesday (today). The ECP is expected to allow the petitioner’s lawyer, Syed Ahmad Hassan Shah, to respond to the conclusive arguments of PTI spread over several weeks.

Talking to reporters outside the ECP, the petitioner and PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar said that after almost eight long years of struggle the case may have come to its conclusive stage. He said the purpose of the case was to institutionalise political parties so that they could act as nurseries of credible and competent leadership. He said Pakistan needs fresh and competent leadership but when political parties are individual or family fiefdoms, the fountains of leadership dry up.

Anwar Mansoor to conclude arguments in foreign funding case today; ECP rejects rigging allegations over Punjab LG polls

He said the time has come for Imran Khan to take major decisions, as he was now at crossroads. He took a path that has ruined a political party meant to change Pakistan’s politics and not to decay it further. He said Imran Khan took the path of power at any cost. It was time for him to fade away and hand over the reigns of the party to those who built the party from scratch and remain committed to its founding ideals.

Mr Babar gave the example of Nelson Mandela who sacrificed 27 years of his life for democracy and human rights. But when the time came he relinquished power and the party leadership and passed it on to those who struggled for change.

ECP rejects rigging allegations

Rejecting the allegation of planned rigging in the by-polls on 20 provincial assembly seats in Punjab, the ECP on Tuesday also said it had made all arrangements to hold free, fair and transparent by-elections.

In a statement, the ECP regretted the fresh round of tirade against it and its chief launched by the PTI. “The Election Commission strongly condemns and denies these allegations”, it said.

The statement came a day after PTI chairman Imran Khan accused the PML-N and the ECP of working in cahoots to rig the upcoming by-polls. He particularly targeted Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, accusing him of meeting and taking weekly instructions from both Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz and PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz.

The commission said it has made proper arrangements for transparent elections in 20 constituencies of Punjab as was done in the local government elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

It was pointed out that the ECP not only took immediate notice of the disruption of polling and illegal action in these elections, but also acted against influential people without any hesitation. It vowed to continue discharging its duties in accordance with the law and the Constitution.

The Election Commission also rejected as misleading the impression that votes have been deliberately shifted to other areas and even other constituencies. It made it clear that the by-polls on the 20 provincial asse­mbly seats will be held on the existing electoral rolls and delimitation.

It said the preliminary electoral rolls for next general elections had been put on display at thousands of display centres across the country, inviting voters to get corrected any wrong entry, and to have an error-free electoral rolls.

The Election Commission assured voters that by-elections in 20 constituencies of Punjab will be transparent and in accordance with the law.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2022

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