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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected the request of Akbar Sher Babar, the petitioner against ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Foreign Funding case, to use laptop in the proceedings of Scrutiny Committee and upheld the scrutiny panel’s decision in this regard.

The Scrutiny Committee has already disallowed Babar to use laptop in the proceedings of Foreign Funding case, a decision that has been now upheld by the ECP.

A three-member ECP bench led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and comprising of ECP Members Nisar Durrani (Balochistan) and Shah Muhammad Jatoi (Sindh) has rejected Babar’s request. The ECP bench has maintained that it allowed Babar in its April 14 decision to only see the record of PTI’s finances in the presence of Scrutiny Committee and that there was no mention of using an ‘electronic machine’ in the said decision.

The ECP is also of the view that Scrutiny Committee has the right to exercise its due powers and political parties should avoid raising unnecessary objections.

The ECP on April 27 rejected PTI’s review petition challenging the commission’s decision wherein the electoral body directed the respondent and the petitioner to nominate two chartered accountants each in Foreign Funding case.

In a related development on April 27, the proceedings of Scrutiny Committee were disrupted as the panel did not allow Babar to use laptop during the proceedings. The panel rejected Babar’s request to be allowed to use laptop to ‘record’ case proceedings. Babar then filed a new petition in ECP against the Scrutiny Committee’s decision to deny him access to laptop at the case proceedings. On April 14, the ECP upheld the Scrutiny Committee’s decision and rejected Babar’s petition seeking to be handed over the record of PTI’s finances while allowing the petitioner to review the record only in front of Scrutiny Committee. The commission also directed the respondent and the petitioner to nominate two chartered accountants each in Foreign Funding case. It directed the Scrutiny Committee to complete proceedings of Foreign Funding case by the coming May 31.

On April 19, PTI’s counsel Shah Khawar filed review petition in ECP against its April 14 decision. The ruling party took the stance that appointing chartered accountants in the case at this stage would cause it to further delay.

On March 30, the Scrutiny Committee submitted a report to ECP wherein it categorically accused Babar of repeatedly filing ‘frivolous petitions’ causing delay in the conclusion of the case proceedings.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021