LHC judge recuses himself from hearing Imran’s plea against FIA

LAHORE (INP): Lahore High Court Justice Ali Zia Bajwa on Monday recused himself from hearing a petition filed by PTI Chairman Imran Khan against the FIA call-up notices in prohibited funding case.
During hearing of the PTI chairman’s petition, Justice Bajwa recused himself and sent the petition to the LHC chief justice with his suggestion to fix the hearing of the petition today before another bench. The judge said that he had worked with Intizar Hussain Panjutha as a lawyer. “That’s why, I don’t want to hear a petition submitted by Panjutha due to personal reasons,” Justice Bajwa said suggesting the chief justice that he fix the hearing of the case today.
The petition has made interior ministry, FIA DG, deputy director and investigation officer respondents in the case. The petitioner said that the FIA in order to politically victimize him sent a call-up notice for Oct 31. He said that the FIA inquiry into the MCB account of the Punjab PTI was based on mala fide intentions.
The petition stated that the FIA initiated inquiry to harass PTI Chairman Imran Khan and placate his political adversaries. No institution raised objection to the opening of accounts by the PTI, the petition added. It said that the FIA was not directed to investigate accounts of the party in the ECP verdict in prohibited funding case.
The ECP did not ask Imran to provide details or explanation of the accounts. The commission only asked for the record of foreign funds. The Punjab PTI accounts were used to meet the office expenditures. The constitution allows every political party to collect funds, it added.
The petitioner further stated that the interior ministry hinted at placing his name on the Exit Control List in its tweet posted on August 3. The FIA deputy director and investigation officer, taking a step ahead of interior ministry, launched an inquiry and started sending notices on their own. The entire procedure regarding prohibited funding trial has been explained in the Political Parties Order, 2002, the petition stated adding that the FIA had no jurisdiction to hold an inquiry into the public funding of a political party.
The petition requested the court to declare the FIA inquiry into prohibited funding illegal and also void the Nov 7 call-up notice by the agency to the petitioner. The petitioner also requested the LHC to restrain the FIA from launching any inquiry till the final decision on his application.