Though the PTI did its best to prevent it happening, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) got the scrutiny committee it appointed to make a report in the foreign funding case, which had embroiled the PTI since it was filed in November 2014 by PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar. The scrutiny committee was constituted to examine the PTI’s banking transactions in March 2019, after the PTI pleaded banking secrecy for its accounts. The committee itself filed the report six months late, after the last deadline given to it by the ECP.
If taken at the value the PTI seems to place on it, the case is explosive. It shows the PTI’s tendency for criticism from its own members, it being a source of embarrassment for the PTI that one of its own had initiated the case. The case raised suspicions that the PTI and The Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital may have mingled funds. There was also speculation about whether the PTI wished the identity of any donors concealed.
The PTI might have been forgiven if it thought that Mr Khan’s becoming PM, and the PTI leading the government, after the 2018 election, would mean the dismissal of the case. However, the ECP was in no mood to give anyone a free ride, and so the case moved to the scrutiny committee stage. That represents progress, for it might well mean that the Damocles’ sword hanging over the head of Mr Khan and the PTI will be removed. However, it might also mean that the opposition’s fondest hopes, and the PTI’s worst fears, may be realized. At the same time, it should be remembered that the PTI has not just defended itself, but also accused other parties of malfeasance. The ECP should display even-handedness by going after all parties and examining the role of foreign funding. But for that to happen, it must first make sure that case reaches a logical conclusion.