IHC serves notice to ECP on PTI appeal (d/c-4)

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ISLAMABAD: A larger bench of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday served a pre-admission notice to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in an appeal of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the ECP’s decision in the prohibited funding case.

The bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq, Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Baber Sattar heard the PTI’s appeal.

PTI’s Lawyer Anwar Mansoor argued that only the amounts falling under the prohibited funding could be confiscated. If the information of any party regarding funding was not found as per the Political Parties Order (PP) 2002, then it could given an opportunity by the ECP for correction.

The lawyer said the ECP had initiated the scrutiny of accounts of all the political parties in 2018 but action was taken only against the PTI under PPO 2002. However, the scrutiny committee had submitted its report while depending on another law, he added.

To a court’s query, Anwar Mansoor said a Pakistani citizen Nasar married to an Indian woman Ramita Shethi and $13,000 were received from the their joint account to the PTI. But the ECP on its own considered half of the amount as received from Ramita Shethi and the rest from her husband.

He claimed that the PTI had never concealed the information regarding the funds received from the Votan Cricket Limited in 2013. It was not prohibited in the law to receive amount from any one other than an individual, he added.

However, the court remarked that it had been written in the law that funds would be received only from individuals.

It questioned whether the petitioner wanted to exclude the observations of ECP. It was just a report and the commission had issued a show cause notice to the PTI so far.

Anwar Mansoor replied that it was an action of the ECP. He said the Federal Government had initiated action against the PTI on the basis of that report. The Federal Investigation Agency had started an inquiry into the matter.

The lawyer pleaded the court to suspend the actions of ECP which were beyond its jurisdiction.

Justice Baber Sattar remarked that it was not the era of 70s where someone could dissolve any party. He asked the lawyer to inform the court regarding his reservations.

Justice Farooq remarked that the court on its own could not correct the facts of facts finding report.

After listening arguments, the court the notice to the ECP for August 24, and adjourned the case.

The PTI, in its appeal, challenged the ECP’s show cause notice in the prohibited funding case. The ECP had asked the party to clarify as to why the funds should not be confiscated. — APP