The Scrutiny Committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) hearing all important foreign funding case has asked all the three mainstream political parties: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), to redress the committee's objections and queries regarding the related evidence the three parties have submitted in the case.
The committee has scrutinised all the evidence submitted by the PTI, PML-N and PPP in the foreign funding case and has asked the mainstream political parties to respond to the objections raised by the committee as well as relevant questions, from January 13 onwards, Business Recorder has learnt.
In this backdrop, the ruling party PTI is the first one to be asked by the committee to make sure that its legal team shows up when summoned by the committee to respond to the related questions posed by the committee members in the foreign funding case, an ECP official told Business Recorder on condition of anonymity.
The three-member Scrutiny Committee is headed by ECP's Director General (Law) Muhammad Arshad as its chairman and includes DG (Audit) Defence Services Masood Akhtar Sherwani and Controller Accounts Air Force Muhammad Faheem as its members. A well-placed source in ECP told Business Recorder that both the PML-N and PPP have not submitted any documentary evidence in the case and have merely submitted one-page replies in November last year. "There is no compelling evidence to negate the allegations of the PTI that PML-N and PPP do not own assets abroad. They have merely submitted one-pagers to deny having any wealth abroad," said a senior ECP official.
On the other hand, the PTI in November 2019 submitted its financial details before the ECP including the details of its LCC (life cycle costing) account along with a detailed documentation which included the details of the PTI's overseas donors, details of related bank transactions, relevant bank statements, and receipts of relevant financial activities, sources privy to the matter told Business Recorder.
The ECP on November 2, 2019 had decided to accept the request of opposition parties to conduct on daily basis the hearings of the foreign funding case related to PTI, after a gap of 20 months. The PTI had also requested the ECP that the foreign funding case related to the PML-N and PPP should also be heard by the ECP. The ECP accepted this demand and held separate hearings of foreign funding case related to PML-N and PPP.
On June 15 last, the ECP issued notices to all three major political parties including PTI, PML-N and PPP to appear before the Scrutiny Committee on June 20. The notices were issued respectively on the petition of Farrukh Habib against PML-N and PPP and Akbar Babar's related petition against PTI. However, there is no headway in this regard and the matter remains pending.
Akbar Babar in November 2014 had moved the ECP accusing the PTI of being a foreign-funded party and seeking action against it in accordance with related constitutional provisions. In the same month last year, the ECP formed the Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the funds of PTI and to submit its report in a month but the committee has not furnished its report.
Shah Khawar is PTI's counsel in the case whereas Ahmad Hassan represents Akbar Babar. The PML-N is represented by Jahangir Jadoon and PPP is represented by Shehbaz Khosa.