PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, accompanied by Maleeka Bokhari and others, leaves the ECP building following the verdict in the PTI prohibited funding case.—Tanveer Shahzad
PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, accompanied by Maleeka Bokhari and others, leaves the ECP building following the verdict in the PTI prohibited funding case.—Tanveer Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: Even tho­ugh it hailed the verdict as favourable, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has decided to move the Islam­abad High Court (IHC) aga­inst the Election Commis­sion of Pakistan (ECP) for its “unilateral decision” aga­­inst the former ruling party in the prohibited funding case.

The decision to go to the court was announced by PTI leader Asad Umar, flanked by party leaders Farrukh Habib, Azam Swati, and Ghulam Sarwar Khan, during a press conference in Islamabad following the election watchdog verdict that confirmed the political party led by Chairman Imran Khan received funds from prohibited sources. Before the presser, Imran Khan had chaired a meeting at his Banigala residence.

He said the decision “proved” that the election watchdog was “biased and prejudiced” and demanded that it should be reconstituted. “The PTI will file two different petitions — one contempt of court petition against ECP for violating the Supreme Court and high court’s decisions for not giving verdict against PPP and PML-N together with PTI, whereas the second petition would be filed against the ECP’s decision for having too many loopholes in the verdict,” the PTI leader said.

‘ECP transgressed domain’

Mr Umar, who is PTI’s secretary general, claimed that the ECP transgressed its legal and constitutional domain in the decision against the PTI.

Asad Umar says contempt plea to be filed against election watchdog

He claimed that the government was disappointed with the decision as, despite years of scheming to disqualify Imran Khan, they got nothing except “embarrassment and humiliation”.

Asad Umar repeated allegations of the ECP being in cahoots with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and said the ECP and the PDM tried to “block the doors of funding being collected from overseas Pakistanis so as to leave the political ground open for a few corrupt families”.

He said Imran Khan eme­rged as a threat to the “corrupt political elite” who reg­ularly indulged in horse-trading.

“People trust Imran Khan that’s why they sent their money to him when he started the fundraising events. If you block the [political] donations, the only way remaining is that of powerful people,” he said.

He urged that the ECP should publish all PTI funding-related documents submitted to the commission along with the record submitted by the PPP and PML-N so the masses could know the reality.

Speaking about the ramifications of the decision on the PTI head, Mr Umar claimed that Imran Khan did not submit an affidavit in a personal capacity, rather it was a certificate; therefore there was nothing to worry about it.

Speaking on the occasion, Farrukh Habib said that the ECP violated the courts’ decisions as per which the commission had to examine the records of all political parties without any discrimination.

“Look at the prejudice of the ECP that even the donations given by PTI ticket holder(s) were declared prohibited funding,” he said.

Just after the decision was announced, PTI leader Fa­­wad Chaudhry said that most of the money was donated by overseas Pakistanis.

He said that he could not understand why the PML-N, JUI-F and PPP declared overseas Pakistanis as the “enemy.

“We consider overseas Pakistanis to be the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and will continue to rely on them for our funding,” he said. While replying to a question, he said that certificates were made by the auditors and Imran Khan had just signed them so responsibility cannot be put on Mr Khan.

Prohibited funding case lasted 2,818 days, 2 CECs

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2022

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