ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to check whether the committee formed to scrutinise the accounts of the ruling party was working under the terms of reference (TORs) after the plaintiff expressed concern over the transparency of the body.
The development comes as the election commission resumed hearing in the foreign funding case filed against PTI by Akbar S. Babar, one of its founding members.
During the hearing, the tribunal heard reservations expressed through a written letter.
The defense argued that the committee should be allowed to carry on with its work. It maintained that the ECP should check whether the committee was following the directives of the Supreme Court and the TORs. The defense was of the view that objections on the scrutiny committee at this stage were rather inappropriate.
On the other hand, the plaintiff maintained that the scrutiny committee was not working in accordance with the TORs.
The counsel stated that the committee works behind closed doors and the records were not being provided to them. He further argued that the committee had not managed to begin identifying illicit funding as yet.
The ECP also heard the PTI’s latest application accusing the petitioner of leaking information to the media on the scrutiny process and passing disparaging remarks about its credibility.
The commission had last week issued a notice to opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal, asking him to appear before it on June 2 to present evidence against the PTI.
Iqbal, through a letter to the ECP, had sought a day-to-day hearing in the case as it has been pending for five years.
He had also asked the ECP to make public the record of undeclared accounts maintained by the party. Banks had shared the record with the commission on the State Bank’s directives.
Babar filed 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 election commission.
A scrutiny committee was formed in March 2018 to complete an audit of PTI’s accounts for the 2009-13 period in one month. However, its mandate was later extended for an indefinite period.