ISLAMABAD: The Election Commis­sion of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday gave Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) ‘a last chance’ to submit its reply to the commission’s show cause notice in the prohibited funding case, commonly referred to as the foreign funding case.

A four-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, which took up the case, gave two more weeks to the PTI, making it clear that it would not be extended any further.

The commission asked the PTI to do the needful in time and set Sept 19 as the next date of hearing.

The hearing was last adjourned on August 23, with the commission giving more time to the PTI to file the reply.

Prohibited funding case set to be heard on Sept 19

PTI’s counsel Shah Khawar informed the ECP that he was busy in the Supreme Court on the last hearing of the case and asked the ECP for more time as he has to get some information from the PTI’s foreign chapter, including National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) and other related documents.

“What is the status of the required information and where has your record reached?” asked the chief election commissioner. In his reply, the PTI counsel requested the ECP to give him a couple of weeks to submit the reply.

A member of the bench chided the PTI for its delaying tactics by asking whether this would also take eight years, alluding to the foreign funding case against the PTI which was filed in Nov 2014 and decided on Aug 2 this year.

The PTI lawyer said he wanted to provide the ECP regular documents, but the chief election commissioner directed the lawyer to submit the reply before two weeks so that on the next hearing of the case, arguments could be started.

It is interesting to note that on Aug 23 hearing, the PTI lawyer had sought two weeks’ time to give a comprehensive reply and the election commission had adjourned the hearing till Sept 6.

On Aug 2, the ECP had announced the verdict in the case. The commission said that it had been proved that the PTI had received the funding from prohibited sources.

The ECP judgment said that the PTI had received prohibited funding from the US and Canada besides receiving funds from Wootton Cricket Limited. Moreover, the judgment said the PTI also took funds from 34 foreigners, including Arif Naqvi, Abraaj Group and others.

Subsequently, after a few days, a show-cause notice was issued to the PTI Chairman Imran Khan with a directive to appear before the ECP on August 23.

The case was filed by PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar, alleging serious financial irregularities in the party’s funds received from foreign countries.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2022

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