–Joint Opp had sought daily hearing of case citing end of term of CEC Justice (r) Sardar Raza in December
ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday decided to conduct day-to-day hearing of the foreign funding case against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
The order came after the opposition’s Rehbar Committee on Wednesday submitted an application, asking the ECP to decide the case before the expiry of Chief Election Commissioner Justice (r) Sardar Muhammad Raza’s term next month.
In the application submitted to ECP Secretary Babar Yaqub, the representatives of eight opposition parties urged the commission to hear the case on a daily basis.
The application pointed out that the foreign funding case against the PTI had been pending with the ECP for the past five years.
“We urge that in the interest of justice the case may be heard on a daily basis and decided at the earliest during the term of the Commission [CEC],” it stated.
When contacted, the ECP secretary confirmed that an application from the opposition had been received and the commission had issued directives for a day-to-day hearing of the case.
Another ECP official said the directives had been issued by the CEC and ECP members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said the ECP member from Punjab was not present. He said the foreign funding case against the PTI was fixed for hearing before the scrutiny committee on Nov 26.
He disclosed that notices had also been issued to the counsel for the PML-N and PPP, asking them to appear before the committee on the same date [Nov 26]. Foreign funding cases against the PML-N and PPP had been filed by PTI lawmakers.
The ECP official said the notices to the PML-N and PPP lawyers had been issued around a week ago.
The case was filed by PTI’s founding member Akbar S. Babar back in 2014, alleging that nearly $3 million in illegal foreign funds were collected through two offshore companies and that money was sent through illegal ‘hundi’ channels from the Middle East to accounts of ‘PTI employees’.
He had also alleged that the foreign accounts used to collect funds were concealed from the annual audit reports submitted to the ECP.
A scrutiny committee was formed in March last year to complete an audit of PTI’s funding sources in one month. Its mandate was later extended for an indefinite period.