ISLAMABAD – The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday gave the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) last chance to produce its financial records pertaining to the foreign funding case.
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Chief Election Commissioner Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza, while heading a five-member bench asked the PTI to comply with its orders by the next date of hearing on May 30. This was the third time the PTI did not produce the records in the case despite written orders of the ECP.
On Dec 1 last year, the ECP had also ordered the PTI to submit its accounts or face ‘legal consequences’. Instead of complying with the orders, the party accused the ECP of ‘political bias’ which led to a contempt application against Imran Khan filed by petitioner Akbar S. Babar.
On May 8 this year, the ECP once again directed the PTI to produce the records by May 17 but opposition party did not comply with the orders and instead sought adjournment on the plea that it had not received the detailed ECP order of May 8, whereby the commission decided its jurisdiction over the case.
The petitioner urged the commission to exercise its constitutional powers and order the State Bank of Pakistan to produce the bank statements and other records demanded by the petitioner.
The case has been languishing since November 2014 when it was first filed by PTI’s founding member and former central vice president Akbar S. Babar alleging corruption and gross irregularities in collection of donations.
On the contempt application filed by Akbar S. Babar against Imran Khan, the PTI chief once again did not fulfil his promise made through his lawyer on May 8 to file a response by Wednesday.
Instead the PTI changed its counsel who sought more time to file a response. The CEC gave Mr Khan one last chance to submit his reply by the next hearing otherwise it would take cognizance in accordance with contempt laws.
The petitioner, Mr Babar while talking to reporters claimed that millions of rupees had been illegally transferred through ‘Hundi’ to front accounts of PTI employees, including a telephone operator, receptionist, computer operator and an accountant. He said Mr Khan should voluntarily disclose if any funds were received from politicians of a neighbouring country, Dawn news reported.
“This is a matter of national security that continues to be ignored despite requests to the federal interior minister for a probe by the FIA”, he remarked.
Apart from the foreign funding case, the Supreme Court of Pakistan is also hearing a case against the PTI supremo and secretary general Jahangir Tareen regarding the offshore firm set up by him.
The petitions were filed by PML-N’s Rawalpindi stalwart Haneef Abbasi last year who argued that both the PTI leaders were involved in wrongdoings and concealment of income in nomination papers.