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ISLAMABAD: In an obvious yet implied response to opposition’s criticism regarding slow pace of progress in foreign funding case, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Tuesday said it made ‘significant’ progress in the case.

The ECP said it is “fully aware of its constitutional and legal responsibilities and fully determined to abide by its duties without any pressure from any quarter,” in a statement issued here, shortly after the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of 11 anti-government opposition parties, concluded its rally outside ECP. The PDM organised the rally to press ECP to conclude the foreign funding case against the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and announce the related verdict at the earliest.

“Be they general elections, Senate elections, by-elections or local government elections, the ECP is always ready to ensure their free and fair conduct,” the electoral body said in the statement.

The commission said the scrutiny committee probing the foreign funding case made significant progress in the case despite Covid-19, lawyers’ engagements in the courts and retirement of a member of the Scrutiny Committee.

The statement also recalled that the commission already directed the scrutiny committee to meet thrice a week to take the foreign funding case to its logical conclusion.

It bears mentioning here that on the sixth of this month, the ECP expressed concern over slow pace of progress in the foreign funding case and directed the scrutiny committee to meet thrice a week to complete the proceedings of the case but the ECP again failed to give any deadline to the committee regarding the completion of its pending report into the case.

In the previous report that the scrutiny committee submitted to the ECP, responsibility was not fixed against anyone which was the major reason the electoral body rejected as incomplete this report on August 27 last year, it is learnt.

The ECP then directed the committee to start afresh its probe, fix responsibility in the case (if there is clear evidence) and submit the report on Oct 22, 2020, but scrutiny committee failed to meet this deadline. The ECP has now asked the committee to submit report ‘at the earliest’ without giving any deadline.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021