ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reserved its decision in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) prohibited funding case on Tuesday.
The former ruling party’s case was heard by the electoral watchdog’s Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja.
Petitioner Akbar S Babar’s financial expert, Arsalan Wardag, stated that the PTI received funding from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. The petitioner’s expert further argued that the party had 11 accounts that it acknowledged it had not disclosed. Moreover, the PTI never disclosed the source of many of the funds received from abroad, the expert maintained.
The chief election commissioner responded that PTI lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan had given his arguments regarding the lack of details of donors, that they were not required by law at the time the funds were received.
Akbar S Babar retorted that the electoral watchdog had the opportunity to hold political parties accountable and set an example.
The ECP’s commissioner stated that democracy was the most vital tenet of the country and must be strengthened by restoring voter confidence.
“We will make sure that justice is done to all. I am grateful to both sides, I have learned a lot,” the commissioner added. He stated that the case was a matter of national interest and soon cases of other parties would also be finalized. “We will ensure that no one is discriminated against.”
Last week, Raja had directed the ECP staff to list the foreign finding case against the PTI as “prohibited funding” from now onwards after accepting the party’s stance on the matter.
As the proceedings started, PTI’s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan maintained that the ECP’s cause list still referred to the case as foreign funding instead of “prohibited funding”.
“My stance since day one is that this is a case of prohibited funding and not foreign funding,” Khan said.
The CEC noted that Khan’s stance was “correct” and directed the ECP staff not to list the case as foreign funding.
The PTI’s counsel had earlier argued that the Political Parties Order 2002 and not Elections Act 2017 would apply on the prohibited funding case.
According to PPO, money received from foreign governments and multinational and local companies would be considered foreign funding, he said.
Under Election Act 2017, receiving money other than Pakistani citizens was prohibited, he added. “The 2002 law applies to all cases till 2017.”