ECP to announce verdict in PTI’s foreign funding case today at 10am

Cause list issued for judgment in 8-year-old case; ECP scrutiny committee obtained 8 volumes from SBP

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has said that it will announce the verdict reserved in a funding case against the PTI on Tuesday (today).

The verdict, which was reserved on June 21 will be announced at 10am and could have serious implications for the future of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

The ECP issued Monday evening a cause list which indicated that a three-member bench will announce the verdict when it meets at 10am.

“Complaint under Article 6 of the Political Parties Order, 2022 (For announcement of Judgement),” the cause list read.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja will preside on the bench as the chairman while members ECP Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi will be part of it.

The ECP issued a cause list Monday evening
The ECP issued a cause list Monday evening

The ECP announcement coincides with Imran Khan’s call to hold a protest outside the ECP building in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The case – also known as PTI ‘foreign funding case’ and ‘prohibited funding case’ — pertains to PTI receiving funds from abroad, including from foreign nationals.

PTI’s founding member Akbar S. Babar had filed the case eight years ago after he parted ways with Imran Khan in 2015.

However, the PTI got a verdict delayed by filing petitions before the courts.

The PMLN- led government has recently been urging the ECP to announce the long-delayed verdict.

On the other hand, the PTI ratchet up its rhetoric against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and other members of the ECP, calling for their resignations.

PTI-controlled Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assemblies passed resolutions in support of the demand on Sunday and Monday, respectively.

Its leader accused the chief election commissioner of meeting with the government leaders — a claim the ECP sources rejected saying it was the PTI leadership that held most meetings with the chief election commissioner.

JUIF leader and PDM Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has repeatedly accused the PTI of receiving funds from Indian and Israeli nationals.

Eight volumes

A report by the British daily Financial Times revealed some of the sources of PTI’s funding last week.

The Financial Times also referred to an ECP investigation report submitted in January this year.

The ECP investigation, which began in 2018, was carried out by the ECP’s scrutiny committee and it focused on the funds received by the PTI from abroad.

The investigation reportedly found irregularities in the audit reports submitted by the PTI to the ECP.

The scrutiny committee held 95 meetings and obtained 8 volumes of record from the State Bank of Pakistan on the PTI’s bank accounts.

These 8 volumes were not released to the public, though the PTI failed to block the release of the scrutiny committee report.

What may happen

Article 6 (not to be confused with Article 6 of the Constitution) of the Political Parties Order-2002 outlines how a political party will receive the membership fee and other contributions from supporters.

The article reads as follows

6. Membership fee and contributions.-
(1) A member of a political party shall be required to pay a membership fee as
provided in the party’s constitution and may, in addition, make voluntary contributions
towards the party’s funds.
(2) The contribution made by members or supporters of any party shall be duly
recorded by the political parties.
(3) Any contribution made, directly or indirectly, by any foreign government, multi-
national or domestically incorporated public or private company, firm, trade or
professional association shall be prohibited and the parties may accept
contributions and donations only from individuals.
(4) Any contribution or donation which is prohibited under this Order shall be
confiscated in favour of the State in the manner as may be prescribed.
Explanation.- For the purpose of this section, a “contribution or donation”
includes a contribution or donation made in cash, kind, stocks, hospitality,
accommodation, transport, fuel and provision of other such facilities.

Senator Shahadat_Awan, who represents the Pakistan Peoples Party, told SAMAA TV that the PTI could be “disqualified” in the prohibited funding case.

He said if the donor is not a Pakistani national, their money would be considered as foreign funding.

However, PTI lawyers have repeatedly said that neither the party could be banned nor its leaders be disqualified.

They say only the prohibited funding could be confiscated as provided in Article 6(4) above. This is the only punishment the PTI could face, they say.

PTI foreign funding case

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