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ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday sought a reply from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) within two weeks regarding the show-cause notice the electoral body had issued to it under its verdict in the Prohibited Funding Case on August 2.

In the absence of PTI’s counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan and Shah Khawar due to their reported engagements in the superior courts, an associate counsel represented the PTI during the hearing.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja headed the ECP bench that heard the case.

During the proceedings, the defence lawyer sought four weeks to file a reply to the ECP notice in the Prohibited Funding Case. The CEC responded that PTI had already submitted all the relevant evidence in the case.

The defence lawyer explained that relevant documents and other material were required to be obtained from the PTI overseas chapter in order to reply to the ECP notice. This process, the counsel said, would require around four weeks.

“Four weeks is too much time — we cannot afford to give this much time,” the CEC stated.

Later, the ECP bench gave PTI two weeks to file reply to the notice and adjourned the case till September 6.

On August 2, the ECP finally announced the long-awaited verdict in the Prohibited Funding Case (formerly known as Foreign Funding Case), issuing PTI a show cause notice for explaining its position over receiving prohibited funds.

“Hence, the commission directs that a notice may be issued to the respondent party in terms of Rule 6 of PPR (Political Parties Rules) 2002 as to why the aforementioned prohibited funds may not be confiscated. The office is also directed to initiate any other action under the law, in the light of this order of the commission, including forwarding the case to the federal government,” the ECP stated in its 70-page order.

However, the commission came under massive criticism from the PTI and public circles over alleged discrepancies in Prohibited Funding Case verdict.

Scores of overseas Pakistanis appeared on electronic and social media to lambaste the electoral body for naming them as foreign donors, who, according to ECP, sent illegal donations to PTI—in Prohibited Funding Case verdict.

The ECP’s order also contained details of funds received by the PTI from some 34 foreign nationals and 351 foreign-based companies but the funding record provided by ECP in the verdict was strongly disputed by the overseas Pakistanis with several companies that were shown as foreign donor entities were found to be belonging to overseas Pakistanis.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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