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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has rejected the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s request to halt the Federal Investigation Agency’s actions against the party leaders after the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the prohibited funding case.

A larger bench of IHC headed by Chief Justice of IHC Justice Aamer Farooq and comprising Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb and Justice Babar Sattar on Tuesday heard the case filed by the PTI challenging the ECP’s decision and seeking to stop the FIA’s action.

During the hearing, the chief justice inquired what would be the act of the ECP if it received evidences of foreign aid to the party. He further asked what the petitioner wanted in the case and added that the federal government was yet to send the reference to the apex court.

Justice Aamer said that the court wanted to conclude the case early but the petitioner could not start its case yet. The bench directed the petitioner to conclude its arguments early and after that time would be given to the other side.

The PTI lawyer, Barrister Anwar Mansoor, submitted the written arguments before the court and contended that the ECP had no authority to send the matter to the federal government. He added that the ECP had sent the matter to the federal government regarding dissolving the party. He said that opening of cases on the basis of the ECP’s decision was also an illegal act.

He said that there was a difference in prohibited funding and foreign aid and prayed to the court to conduct hearing of the case on a daily basis. He informed the bench the FIA had registered dozens of FIRs on the basis of the ECP’s verdict and requested the court to halt the FIA from taking action in this matter.

However, the IHC bench rejected the PTI’s request to stop the FIA’s action into the matter and remarked that it was a separate issue.

Later, the court deferred the hearing of the case till January 10.

The petitioner contended that they are grossly aggrieved by the Fact Finding Report, which contrary to facts and the law. The petitioner added 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.

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 fides, arbitrary and without lawful jurisdiction, in excess of lawful authority and in violation of Articles 17(1) & (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).”

Therefore, it prayed to 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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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