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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) decided to constitute a larger bench to hear the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s petition challenging the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s fact-finding report in the prohibited funding case against the party.

A single bench of Acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq on Tuesday heard the petition of the PTI additional secretary general, Omar Ayyub, wherein, he prayed to declare the ECP’s decision dated August 2 as illegal.

During the hearing, Justice Aamer remarked that it was an important and serious issue; therefore, a larger bench should hear it. At that, the PTI’s lawyer, Anwar Mansoor, requested the court to stop the electoral body from taking action against his party following the show-cause notice.

A larger bench headed by Justice Aamer and comprising Justice Miagul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Babar Sattar will hear the matter on August 18.

In the petition, the PTI lawyer 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 of 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 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 interalia, by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, in 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”).

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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