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ISLAMABAD: Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday directed the Scrutiny Committee investigating the finances of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) to furnish the related reports within 10 days while rejecting the request of the scrutiny panel to keep classified some portion of its report related to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI’s) funds.

A three-member ECP bench led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and comprising of Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi heard the Foreign Funding Case related to PTI.

Former attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan represented PTI whereas Akbar Sher Babar, the petitioner against the ruling party, was represented by Advocate Ahmad Hassan.

In his arguments, the former AGP termed as welcoming the scrutiny into the finances of political parties by the electoral body. He, however, said there were certain serious shortcomings in the scrutiny panel’s report related to PTI. Certain statistics were repeated and there was duplication/ overlapping of data at different points in the report, he added.

Khan said that Scrutiny Committee’s report regarding PTI’s finances was completed but those of other parties (PML-N and PPP) were still pending. He said Scrutiny Committee has determined that the petitioner could not prove the allegations of foreign funding he levelled against PTI.

Foreign funding case: ECP directs scrutiny committee to refurnish its report

The former AGP said he needed time to look into Foreign Funding Case in detail. “I have been engaged (by PTI) just two days back. I need time to be able to properly contest this case,” he said. The petitioner’s counsel said that some parts of scrutiny panel’s report were not shared with them.

On this, the CEC remarked that the ECP bench has rejected the Scrutiny Committee’s request to keep some portions of the report classified. “Now, nothing is secret,” he maintained.

Special Secretary ECP Zafar Iqbal Hussain appeared before the ECP bench and informed that the scrutiny panel was rendered dysfunctional due to the retirement of one of its members. This, he said, was affecting the probes related to PML-N and PPP.

The bench observed that the panel would be reconstituted, and passed a written order in this context. The commission directed that the probes related to PML-N and PPP be completed and reports be furnished within 10 days.

The bench also observed that State Information Minister Farrukh Habib was not a party in Foreign Funding Case but he could move an application if he wanted to be a party in this case. The electoral body accepted the former AGP’s request regarding grant of more time and adjourned the case proceedings till coming February 1.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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