PTI moves IHC to halt ECP action in funding case

Says show-cause notice not issued via legitimate authority


Our Correspondent March 26, 2023
The PTI asks IHC to annul show-cause notice and stop proceedings until the verdict is announced. Photo: File

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ISLAMABAD:

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court (IHC), challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) rejection of the request to cross-examine witnesses in the prohibited funding case.

The PTI said that the ECP did not issue the show-cause notice via “legitimate authority” and the court should annul it and stop proceedings until the verdict is announced.

The PTI argued that the electoral body had denied the party an opportunity to present an effective defence by refusing to re-evaluate evidence and treating the show-cause action as an indivisible process.

The petition highlighted that the commission was also requested to summon the witnesses who collected evidence.

The PTI stated that the commission's decision to reject the petition concerning the legality of the show-cause notice violated the fundamental rights.

The petition stated that the decision of March 22 should be quashed, declaring the show-cause notice invalid as it was allegedly not issued by an authorised official.

Earlier, the ECP in its detailed judgement released on Friday explained the reasons for rejecting the PTI’s application for cross-examination of witnesses, including bank officials concerned, declaring that the process for confiscation of prohibited funds received by the party had started.

The ECP in its order stated that entertaining the application for cross-examination at this stage would mean reopening the entire matter that had been decided in August last year. The current proceedings to execute last year’s findings were about confiscation of the prohibited contributions or donations received by the party, it elaborated.

“The prayer for reopening or re-examination of the matter at this stage cannot be considered, as the proceedings in terms of Rule 6 of the Political Parties Rules (PPR) 2002 is execution of findings recorded in terms of Section 6 of the Political Parties Order, 2002 by the commission,” the detailed order stated.

The order mentioned that the instant proceedings in terms of Rule 6 of PPR only dealt with the confiscation of contributions or donations, which were declared “prohibited” by the ECP.

“There are only two requirements of Rule 6, firstly; the party shall be put on notice and, secondly, opportunity of being heard shall be granted to the party and in the instant case, both requirements of the law, have been met,” the order stated.

In its unanimous verdict, the ECP ruled on Aug 2, 2022 that the PTI had received “prohibited” funding or contribution.

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