ECP rejects PTI’s appeal to halt foreign funding case proceedings
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) appeal to halt the election body’s proceedings on the foreign funding case, issuing the party yet another “last chance” to submit its full financial records — this time by September 7. Following the initial arguments on Wednesday, the election body had reserved its judgement on the appeal. PTI’s lawyer Anwar Mansoor had asked the ECP to stop the proceedings in the foreign funding case as a similar case is also being heard at the Supreme Court against his client. Mansoor, on Wednesday morning, submitted his client’s reply before the five-member tribunal of the ECP, chaired by the chief election commissioner, which has been hearing a petition filed by Akbar S. Babar — a former PTI member. Babar’s petition also seeks party chairman Imran Khan’s disqualification on the charges of collecting party funds from “prohibited” sources. The submitted reply, however, did not contain any details of the party’s funds. When the petitioner’s lawyer, Ahmed Hassan, pointed out that the details sought by the ECP were missing from the response, Mansoor told the court that the relevant documents had already been filed with the Supreme Court, adding that the ECP is a party to the case that is ongoing in the apex court. Mansoor told the ECP tribunal that the SC had not asked for the party’s entire funding history. “Perhaps there is an element of prejudice in some corner of the ECP,” the lawyer alleged. Dismissing his claims, the commissioner said that seeking details does not mean that prejudice exists. “As a party to the SC case, the ECP should not proceed with hearings on this case,” Mansoor maintained. The commissioner told the lawyer that it would have been better if he approached the SC with a request to halt the ECP proceedings.The petitioner’s lawyer, however, argued that the nature of the case being heard in the apex court was different from that of the ECP case. Hassan added that if the PTI submitted the details of its funds, it would become clear if they were received from prohibited sources or not. He asked the ECP not to hear PTI’s request, claiming that it was an attempt to avoid furnishing the financial details. “The PTI has been asked to submit the details 21 times,” he said. In May this year, the ECP had given the PTI another chance to produce its financial records in the foreign funding case — despite issuing the same directives twice before.