Claim of foreign funding against PTI did not hold water & all funds were legal: Qureshi
PTI counsel claims before ECP that dual nationals were permitted under the law to fund political parties
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
As the election watchdog steps up the proceedings of the foreign funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Tuesday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to summon other political parties in their respective cases as well.
Speaking to media outside the ECP office in Islamabad, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said they were not fretting but other parties should also be summoned to face relevant cases. He added the claim of foreign funding against the PTI did not hold water and all funds were legal. He further said the scrutiny committee in charge of the case against the party extended its mandate. “Our record is clean,” he said, adding that overseas Pakistanis also supported the PTI.
Meanwhile as the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday resumed hearing the foreign funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the party’s counsel claimed that dual nationals were permitted under the law to fund political parties.
A three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Sikandar Sultan Raja conducted the hearing.
During the hearing, PTI’s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan raised an objection against the ECP, saying it was not fully functional as it was operating without two of its members, who retired in 2019.
He also cited Article 218 of the Constitution, which stipulates the formation of a “permanent election commission consisting of a chairman and four members, one from each province”.
He contended that the ECP was not entitled to issue orders on [any matter] until it was fully functional. He made this observation in reference to April 12 announcement by the ECP regarding the delimitation schedule for the National Assembly and provincial assemblies for the next general elections.
The PTI counsel said the documents provided by the ECP’s scrutiny committee to petitioner Akbar S. Babar were not bona fide, adding that Babar talked out of context on the matter during his interactions with the media.
Mansoor said he would complete his arguments in the case in three days, and told the bench that he had already informed the commission about his unavailability from April 20.
After hearing his arguments, the ECP adjourned the hearing till next week, declaring it would hold proceedings for three consecutive days in the coming week.
The ECP had last week said it would hear the case on a daily basis in line with the Islamabad High Court’s order which directed it to dispose of the matter within 30 days.
The IHC issued the order after it dismissed an appeal of the PTI against the ECP order rejecting two PTI applications seeking dismissal of the foreign funding case and disassociating its petitioner Akbar S. Babar from the case and keeping the PTI documents secret.
On January 4 this year, the ECP’s scrutiny committee, formed in March 2018 to examine the PTI’s foreign funding in one month, finally submitted its report after 95 hearings and nearly four years.
The report, based on eight volumes of record requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan, proved that the PTI leadership had allegedly committed gross violations of funding laws by allowing the collection of millions of dollars and billions of rupees without any source and details from foreigners, including Indian nationals and foreign companies.