Foreign funding case: PTI says ECP scrutiny panel ‘ignored’ its audits

Party's finance expert questions the findings of the report


Saqib Virk May 19, 2022
Photo: File/AFP

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ISLAMABAD:

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday raised objections over the authenticity of a report by the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) scrutiny committee on foreign funding.

A financial expert of PTI, while arguing before a bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, said the party had submitted its standard audit report but the scrutiny committee ignored it and misperceived the audit accounts.

He contended that the scrutiny committee had ignored the entire report of PTI and misunderstood the audit accounts. He termed the committee’s report shared on January 4 as flawed, saying the proceedings were “one-sided".

He further called into question the scrutiny committee’s ability to function properly, adding it would have been better had the panel spent some time carrying out research with due diligence.

Read PTI wants Akbar Babar out of foreign funding case

“If the scrutiny committee lacked the required expertise it should have sought assistance,” he said and contended that the petitioner had failed to provide the certified documents to the panel. He further claimed that the cheques which had been rejected and returned by the party were also wrongly included in the list shared by the report.

“Large amounts were deposited in some accounts, others are small accounts. There was duplication of depositing amounts,” he argued. “The cheques that were returned have also been shown in the report as deposited,” the PTI consultant said.

“The scrutiny committee didn’t try to understand our contentions,” he said.

However, responding to the objections, CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja stressed that the issues which have been covered already by the ECP during the course of its hearings should not be brought up again, asking the finance expert to focus on the statistical aspects of the case.

Meanwhile, PTI’s lawyer Anwar Mansoor assured the commission that he would discuss the figures in detail on Thursday (today).

The ECP adjourned the hearing of the case till 12 noon on Thursday (today).

During the hearing a day earlier, the PTI had denied receiving funds from “prohibited sources” from abroad and maintained that the party only collected money from Pakistanis.

PTI counsel Anwar Mansoor argued that the Foreign Agents Registration Act (Fara) had been formulated for US law. The US law cannot apply in Pakistan, he said, adding that only the multinational companies fell within the ambit of foreign funding. “No funding from prohibited sources was received from the US.”

Mansoor noted that the scrutiny committee of the ECP had rejected both the party’s and petitioner Akbar S Babar’s documents. He said the committee did not give any reason for rejecting his documents, adding that the body could not refuse to entertain the party’s documents.

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