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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Wednesday challenged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s fact-finding report in the prohibited funding case against the party in Islamabad High Court.

The PTI Additional Secretary General, Omar Ayyub, moved the petition through advocates, Anwar Mansoor Khan, Shah Khawar, and Faisal Fareed praying that the ECP’s decision dated August 2 be declared illegal.

He stated that the petitioner is grossly aggrieved by the fact-finding report heard on 21-06-2022 and announced on 02.08.2022 by the ECP. He added that the petitioner being utterly dissatisfied with the impugned fact-finding report, being contrary to facts and the law, additionally having been passed in excess of authority and in violation of the judgments of the superior courts, seeks to challenge the impugned fact-finding report.

The petitioner added that as the impugned fact-finding report followed by the show cause notice dated 05.08.2022 (received on 06.08.2022) is of the respondent, being an administrative authority, and whereas there is no provision in the LAW providing for an Appellate Authority to challenge the illegal Orders passed by the respondent, the petitioner, has no other efficacious remedy available but to impugn the impugned fact-finding report of the respondent, in this present writ petition before this High Court.

He adopted the stance that the ECP is the Constitutional administrative body created for carrying out fair and free elections and to carry out other purposes as required under the Constitution and the statutes.

The respondent was mandated to inter alia, by the Supreme Court in the case of Muhammad Hanif Abbasi versus Imran Khan Niazi and three others reported as PLD 2018 SC 189 to scrutinize the source of funds and the accounts of political parties under the previous law, the Political Parties Order 2002 (“PPO”).

The PTI contended that the ECP has passed the impugned fact-finding report dated 02.08.2022, based on incorrect facts, incorrect application of law, beyond its jurisdiction and in an unreasonable, irrational, bias manner.

“The exercise of executive is to be exercised reasonably, rationally, proportionately, justly, without any bias or ulterior motive, supported by reason and explanation. The ECP, in the impugned fact finding report, has not adhered to any principles which regulate the discretion of an executive body,” said the party.

It maintained, “The impugned fact finding report is tainted with mala fide, arbitrary and without lawful jurisdiction, in excess of lawful authority and in violation of Articles 17(1) and (2) of the Constitution of Pakistan. The impugned Fact Finding Report in fact shakes the principles of democracy and violates the fundamental rights of the petitioner under Article 9 & 17(1) & (2).”

It continued that due to mala fides, the impugned fact-finding report of the respondent and as a consequence thereof, the petitioner has suffered loss of reputation and is continuing to suffer loss. The party added that the implementation of the impugned fact-finding report would entail catastrophic damage to the petitioner, even though the impugned Fact Finding Report is highly flawed.

The PTI stated, “Furthermore, the impugned Fact Finding Report would also inexorably result in adverse consequences for petitioner as regard its relationship with its supporters and the democratic right to have a lawful political party. Needless to say, the reputation and future prospect of the petitioner would be irreparably prejudiced and impaired without their being any fault on the part of the petitioner at all.”

Therefore, it prayed before the court to suspend the operation of the impugned fact-finding report dated 02.08.2022 of the ECP and suspend show cause notice dated 05.08.2022, issued by it.

The PTI also requested the court to declare that the said fact-finding report is perverse, incorrect and in excess of authority and jurisdiction. It further prayed to declare that any action suggested by the ECP is beyond authority and that no action can be taken on the basis of the said fact-finding report.

The petitioner further requested the court to declare that holding that, “the matter falls within the ambit of Article 17(3) of the Constitution of Pakistan, Article 6(3) and Article 2(c)(iii) of the PPO 2002” is illegal and in excess of authority and jurisdiction.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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