ECP reserves verdict in PTI foreign funding case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday reserved its verdict in the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) foreign funding case.

A three-member bench of the ECP, headed by CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja, heard the case.

It was reserved after eight long years of hearings. Over 95 hearings of the case were held while the scrutiny committee held 96 sessions.

However, the CEC, on the occasion, said that parties to the case could be summoned again if need arose.

The CEC went on to say that some leading lawyers gave their arguments in the case.

He made it clear that the election commission was least bothered about ‘agitation’ the PTI had threatened with outside the ECP office. “And we will do justice in the case and make sure no wrong is done to any party,” he expressed the resolve.

Earlier speaking before the ECP bench, Akbar S. Babar, the petitioner, said it was for the first time in the country’s history that any political party was giving details of the funds it had received from abroad. “As a matter of fact each and every party should be answerable to the commission,” he stressed.

In his remarks, the chief election commissioner (CEC) said that now when hearing of the PTI’s case was over, it was ECP’s desire that other parties’ cases should also conclude. “We have to strengthen democratic system in the country by restoring voter’s trust in democracy,” he remarked.

Earlier, Arsalan Wardag, Akbar S. Babar’s financial expert, claimed that the PTI had failed to disclose sources of some of its offshore funds. “It is my request to the ECP to order the provision of the record of party’s local bank accounts,” he added.

Wardag alleged that the PTI had failed to satisfy the commission with respect to its 41 bank accounts. “LLC is not the party’s agent in the USA,” he said, adding, “PTI office-bearers own companies in the UK, while there is no information as to who owns the companies in other countries.”

Right at that time when his financial expert was giving his arguments, Babar walked up to the rostrum and said he had no personal grudge against the PTI. “Had the ECP not taken interest, the scrutiny of the party’s bank accounts and funds might have dragged on for four years,” he expressed the fear.

Later talking to the media outside the ECP office, the petitioner expressed optimism that his stance would eventually stand vindicated.

The foreign funding case against the PTI had been filed in the ECP in November 2014.