ISLAMABAD: While ruling out any stay order on the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) probe into the party’s funding, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday decided not to admit the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s petition seeking to set aside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision in the prohibited funding case.

The IHC larger bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Minagul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Babar Sattar took up the petition and after preliminary hearing, decided not to admit it for regular hearing for the time being.

The bench issued pre-admission notice to the ECP for Aug 24 to decide whether or not to admit the petition.

During the hearing, the PTI’s lawyer was grilled by the bench over his plea on the ECP’s decision.

In response to the questions, the PTI’s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan argued that the wording of the ECP’s report ‘was more like a decree’.

The federal government directed the FIA to initiate a probe into alleged prohibited funding after the ECP’s verdict, he argued.

Mr Khan expressed his apprehensions that the federal government might label the PTI as a ‘foreign funded party’ after the probe.

However, Justice Farooq remarked that the court cannot issue an order over mere assumptions.

“Even if the bench sets aside the ECP’s order, the inquiry cannot be closed,” observed Justice Farooq.

The counsel told the bench that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the Hanif Abbasi case that the federal government can not take action against political parties.

After hearing the arguments, the bench adjourned the proceedings till Aug 24.

Published in Dawn, August 19th, 2022

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