ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday accepted the opposition’s plea for daily hearings of the foreign funding case against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
A two-member bench presided the hearing of a memorandum submitted by members of the opposition’s Rahbar Committee on November 20.
A copy of the application has also been forwarded to the chief election commissioner and various ECP members. Daily hearings of the case would commence from November 26.
The memorandum was submitted after a meeting between JUI-F’s Akram Khan Durrani, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal, PPP’s Nayyar Bukhari and Farhatullah Babar, ANP’s Mian Iftikhar, PkMAP’s Usman Khan Kakar, and Tahir Bizenjo of the National Party.
“This case has been pending for the past five years. Why are those who claim to follow the model of State of Madina are so afraid of being held accountable for their actions,” asked Durrani.
“The delays, in this case, will be detrimental for Pakistan. The ECP must conduct daily hearings and adjudicate this case as soon as possible,” he added.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan allayed concerns over the joint opposition demand of daily hearings of the PTI foreign funding case.
“There is no need to worry because we have nothing to hide. I have submitted the details of my assets to the courts and the party’s funds have been audited,” he said.
The premier pledged to show no let-up in his anti-graft drive, saying that he would continue his fight against the “corruption mafia” even if he had to do it alone.
Foreign funding case
PTI’s disgruntled former founding member Akbar S Babar had filed the foreign funding case in the ECP in 2014 after he developed differences with PTI Chairman Imran Khan over alleged internal corruption and abuse of laws governing political funding.
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For over a year, the proceedings were delayed in the ECP as the PTI had filed a writ petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in October 2015 seeking to restrain the ECP from scrutinising its accounts.
In February 2017, the IHC remanded the case back to the ECP for a fresh review of its jurisdiction.
On May 8, 2017, a full bench of the ECP once again declared its complete jurisdiction over the matter and stated that the PTI had failed to present any evidence that the petitioner, Akbar S Babar, has been expelled from the party.
A scrutiny committee was constituted in March 2018 to complete an audit of the PTI’s funding sources in one month. Later on, its mandate was extended for an indefinite period.
In October 2019, a three-member bench of ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammad Raza, rejected four applications filed by PTI requesting secrecy during the investigation.