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Pakistan Print 2022-04-01

Foreign funding case: ‘No issue if a party collects donations from overseas supporters’, observes CEC

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday raised a question as to why the...
Published April 1, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday raised a question as to why the contributions received by any political party from overseas Pakistanis be categorised as foreign funding, during the hearing of foreign funding case related to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

“If people send money to any political party — let’s say from Norway, Australia or any other country — what’s wrong with that?” observed Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, heading the three-member bench that heard the case, along with Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi.

“If a party collects donations or contributions from its overseas supporters —what’s the issue? What’s the big deal?” he maintained. Ahmad Hassan, the counsel of Akbar Sher Babar, the petitioner against PTI, argued that the funding PTI received from different companies was illegal and it should be confiscated.

He said the PTI did not admit having ownership of one bank account that had illegal funds and it was operated by Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan submitted a certificate in ECP affirming that PTI did not receive any illegal funding. The petitioner’s counsel alleged that the ruling party received funds amounting in millions of rupees from prohibited sources from different countries.

PTI counsel and former attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan said a case related to Babar is pending in Islamabad High Court (IHC) that is scheduled to be heard on Friday (today).

He would start his arguments in the case on April 13. Last week, Babar alleged that the ruling party declared as illegal 11 of its own accounts in the case. Recently, the ECP has reconstituted the Scrutiny Committee to investigate the finances of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in foreign funding case.

The reconstituted four-member committee is led by Director General Law ECP Muhammad Arshad and comprises of ECP Director General Political Finance Masood Akhtar Sherwanee, Additional Secretary Administration ECP Manzoor Akhtar Malik and Khurram Raza Qureshi from Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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