PTI submits ‘complete’ details in foreign funding case

ECP directs scrutiny committee to expedite investigation process


Saqib Virk January 13, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday submitted complete details of the party’s funding with the scrutiny committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The scrutiny panel met at the ECP to investigate the PTI in the foreign funding case.

Ruling party’s counsel Shah Khawar and petitioner Babar along with his lawyer appeared before the committee.

Sources said that probe against the PTI had entered into a final phase and that the ECP had directed the scrutiny body to expedite the investigation process.

During the proceedings, PTI lawyer Khawar submitted complete details of the party funding with the inquiry committee and expressed the hope that ruling party would be “honourably acquitted” in the case.

He said the PTI had submitted the “minutest of the details” about the sources of party funding with the panel.

On the other hand, petitioner Babar raised objections over the investigation by the scrutiny committee saying the panel wanted to dispose of the matter in haste.

He alleged that the inquiry panel was trying to “protect” the ruling party and added that the ECP had also expressed no confidence in it in the past.

The petitioner also announced to write a book on the action taken by the scrutiny committee.

Earlier in September 2020, the ECP had rejected the scrutiny panel’s report against the PTI as “incomplete”.

The ECP in an order maintained that the report was neither complete nor detailed.

“The Scrutiny Committee on the basis of documents provided by both the parties and collected from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has neither scrutinised the record nor evaluated the evidence from the documents and failed to form definite opinion,” the ECP said.

The committee, headed by ECP director general (law), was formed in March 2018 to complete audit of PTI accounts for the period 2009-13 in a month’s time. Later, its term was extended. The ECP on June 2, 2020 gave a final deadline to the committee for report submission by August 17. Subsequently, the committee concluded scrutiny on August 13.

The foreign funding case against PTI continues to linger before the ECP since November 2014 when it was filed by the party’s founding member Akbar S Babar.

Babar alleged serious financial irregularities in the ruling party’s accounts including illegal sources of funding, concealment of bank accounts in the country and abroad, money laundering, and using private bank accounts of PTI employees as a front to receive illegal donations from the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the PTI had approached the commission in October 2017 to seek scrutiny of funding record of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for years 2013-2015.

In two separate “complaints”, the PTI accused the PML-N and the PPP of concealing their sources of funds and companies registered by them in the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively, and sought cancellation of election symbols allocated to them “for their failure to meet legal requirements for eligibility to obtain the symbols”.

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