Category Published Date
Election 16 August 2017

ISLAMABAD – The Election Commission of Pakistan would give its decision on the foreign funding of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf when it resumes hearing of the case today (Wednesday). In this regard, the ECP has issued the cause list and fixed the case for orders which has been lingering since 2014. According to the ECP, the delay in the case had been because of the PTI strategy, which first raised objection to the jurisdiction of the commission and then challenged its powers in the Islamabad High Court for two times. The ECP, in its detailed judgment on the question of jurisdiction in the PTI foreign funding case, had rejected the argument that it was a past and closed transaction. “Let us assume a scenario where a political party has received prohibited funding from foreign countries, say India, for example. When such party rendered the accounts, the prohibition got omitted to be noticed. Would that omission justify the receipt of prohibited funding from India and become justified with the lapse of time?” the order read. It observed: “It is simply not imaginable; rather it becomes the bounden duty of the ECP to scrutinise either taking suo motu or on the application of somebody.” The commission said it was its responsibility under Article 218 (3) of the Constitution and the Political Parties Order, 2002, to see whether a party receiving prohibited funding should be allowed to enter the electoral arena or not. The ECP also referred to a judgment of the Supreme Court in the Ardeshir Cowasjee case in which the court had categorically held that an illegal action could not be treated as irrevocable or past or closed transaction. On the other hand, PTI has failed to submit its financial accounts. On June 7, PTI once again failed to produce the financial documents and, instead, took the plea that since a similar matter was pending before the Supreme Court, hearing should be postponed until instructions from the apex court were received. On this the CEC adjourned hearing until June 22. In the petition filed in the IHC, Imran Khan challenged the locus standi (right to speak) of Akbar S Babar who, in his application before the ECP, had questioned sources of PTI’s foreign funds. PTI has been contesting that the ECP has no jurisdiction to question the sources of its funds and Akbar S Babar, as a private person, cannot file such an application before the ECP. In his application, Akbar S Babar alleged PTI had violated Article 6 of the Political Parties Order, 2002, by collecting funds from abroad. PTI says under the PPO there is no concept of scrutiny of political parties through public at large. Earlier, this year, PTI filed a petition in the IHC, raising the question of maintainability of Babar’s complaint by the ECP, but the commission did not decide the maintainability and jurisdiction questions in clear terms. An IHC bench on Feb 15 directed the ECP to decide the matter of jurisdiction and maintainability. On May 6, the ECP decided the matters of its jurisdiction and ‘locus standi’ of Babar. According to PTI, the ECP, through its subsequent order of May 8, decided that it had jurisdiction to hear the case, but did not provide detailed reasons for the order. In the new petition before the IHC, Imran Khan made the ECP and Babar respondents. About the latter, the petition said Babar had been a PTI member since 1996, but was expelled in 2011. “Babar is a disgruntled ex-member and has personal vendetta against the party and its chairman,” it argued. The ECP, later this month, would also decide a contempt application filed against PTI chief Imran Khan for casting aspersions on the ECP in a review application of January 9. The party’s counsel took the plea that the matter was closed as the ECP had already accepted the junior lawyer’s unconditional apology. But the CEC contended his Jan 16 short order clearly stated that the respondent’s apology had not been received. Later, a short order was passed rejecting Imran Khan’s reply to the contempt application as the last chance before legal inferences are drawn on the contempt application. In its previous hearing, the ECP issued a show cause notice to Imran Khan and would frame charges against him on the next hearing. This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 16-Aug-2017

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The Nation