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ISLAMABAD: Former ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday objected to the “incomplete formation” of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Foreign Funding Case, taking the stance that electoral body was not mandated to hear the case unless its formation was complete.

During proceedings, PTI counsel and former attorney general for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan pointed out that the two ECP members; Justice (retired) Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi and Justice (retried) Irshad Qaiser retired after completing their five-year terms in July last year. The commission, he said, is incomplete since then.

“In the constitution, the powers vest in the ECP, not in the chief election commissioner or members,” Khan argued.

He said the ECP is required to be fully functional keeping in view Article 218 which provides that ECP shall consist of a CEC and four members; one from each province.

CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja responded that Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the ECP to decide Foreign Funding Case within 30 days. The CEC headed the three-member bench that heard the case, comprising of Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi.

The PTI counsel termed IHC’s decision as “unfortunate.”

“The observations which the honourable court made — and the aspects that were never touched in the case — were part of the court’s decision,” he remarked.

He said Pakistani nationals, who also have foreign nationalities, are permissible under the law to fund political parties. The PTI lawyer contended that the former ruling party received donations from overseas Pakistanis, which, he said, is completely allowed under Pakistan’s law.

The PTI counsel said he would not be available for a few days from April 20 (today), following which, the bench adjourned the case till next week. The bench announced that it would hold hearings of Foreign Funding Case for three consecutive days next week.

On Thursday, last week, IHC rejected PTI’s petition to dismiss Foreign Funding Case and remove Akbar Sher Babar, the petitioner against the former ruling party in the case, and directed ECP to decide the case within 30 days.

Following the court order, the electoral body, on Friday, announced to hold the proceedings of Foreign Funding Case on a daily basis in compliance with the court order.

In November 2014, Akbar Babar, one of the founding members of PTI, moved the ECP accusing the PTI of being a foreign- funded party and seeking action against it in accordance with related constitutional provisions.

Khan is PTI’s counsel in the case whereas Ahmad Hassan represents Akbar Babar.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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