Tuesday, January 31, 2023

ECP rejected petition of PTI to merge all foreign funding cases 

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) requested that all foreign funding cases be combined before ruling on the party’s foreign funding case. The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) denied this request.

It was announced during a hearing of the PTI foreign funding issue by a three-member bench of the ECP, which was led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja.

The PTI requested three days — from April 27 to April 29 — to complete its arguments at the last hearing, which took place on April 19.

PTI’s lawyer, Anwar Mansoor Khan, instead of continuing his arguments on Wednesday, read out an Islamabad High Court (IHC) order issued on Monday, which extended the 30-day deadline for deciding the foreign funding case and directed that the ECP conduct scrutiny of all parties without regard to their political affiliation or affiliation with the ruling party.

Mr. Khan stated that the International Court of Justice had ordered that all foreign funding cases be heard at the same time, and as a result, he declined to present his arguments on Wednesday.

The CEC, on the other hand, claimed that no such finding had been made by the IHC order and pointed out that the PTI’s foreign funding case had already been delayed for nearly eight years, and so asked that it be brought to a close as soon as possible.

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In addition, he stated that hearings on additional cases were now underway and that a complete report would be delivered to the IHC on May 17.

During the hearing, the commission was also instructed to hold off on taking any further action until the scrutiny committee’s reports on the foreign funding charges against the PML-N and the PPP are received.

At this point, an ECP member from Balochistan inquired as to where the IHC order had stated that the commission was required to wait for the results of the scrutiny committee’s investigation.

The applications filed by the PTI’s legal team against the PML-N and PPP funds were initially presented in 2017. According to him, “the commission should have referred this subject to the scrutiny committee five years ago.”

CEC Raja, on the other hand, told Mr. Khan, the counsel for the PTI, that all three cases were being heard. He then requested that the attorney submit his arguments in the current case.

Mr Khan, on the other hand, refused to do so, insisting that the commission first bring other cases on a par with the PTI case and that the commission ensure a level playing field.

Mr Khan complained to the CEC that while other parties were given access to PTI’s financial documents, Mr Khan was not given access to other parties’ financial documents for the purpose of reviewing them. The CEC responded by ordering that the PTI be given access to other parties’ financial documents.

Three foreign funding charges against the PTI, the PML-N, and the PPP, according to the chief election commissioner, are currently pending before the ECP.

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