ECP to determine whether funds are prohibited, CJP Saqib remarks

  • 'No lawmaker can be disqualified for submitting fake certificates of party funds'
Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Supreme Court on Wednesday resumed hearing on a petition regarding foreign funding seeking disqualification of Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, comprising Justice Umar Bandiyal and Justice Faisal Arab is hearing the case filed by Pakistan Muslime League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi asking the court to disqualify the PTI head and Jahangir Tareen for concealing assets and violating Income Tax Ordinance. He also called the PTI a foreign-funded party.

Abbasi’s counsel, Akram Sheikh resumed his arguments stressing disqualification of Imran Khan for hiding prohibited sources of funds for his party in the certificate. He added that filer of a fake certificate could not more be Sadiq and Amin.

Referring to MNA Iftikhar Cheema case, he said that Cheema was disqualified under section 99 of People Representative Act by imposing Article 62 (f) (i) of the Constitution for not declaring bank account of his wife.

Justice Bandial said that prohibited funds according to the PTI did not transfer to Pakistan, adding that will have to prove first that funds were received by the party.

Sheikh said that agent in abroad was a member of the PTI, adding that party has admitted receiving prohibited funds in its documents.

Justice Faisal Arab questioned that the illegal funds were included in bank record or not.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will determine whether funds are prohibited or not. He added that nature of the funds was not clear yet.

To which, Abbasi’s counsel said that the ECP has no link with this matter.

He asked that where it has been admitted that prohibited funds have been received, adding that on which basis funds were declared illegal.

The chief justice asked Abbasi’s counsel to present evidence in this regard if have any.

Justice Bandial said that agent submitted an affidavit of not receiving the prohibited funds, adding that in these circumstances how a head of a party could be held responsible for prohibited funds.

The consequences will have to review if funds had not been transferred to Pakistan, he remarked.

Sheikh further argued that PTI received funds from foreign corporations and nationals and concealed them, besides claiming that prohibited funds were transferred to Pakistan.

It is time to shut the doors of foreign funding, which is also received by terrorist groups, he added.

Justice Bandia observed that there should be an investigation into funds from companies as it is prohibited in law.

Imran Khan has challenged the jurisdiction of the ECP, argued Sheikh.

The chief justice observed that the court will decide regarding the powers of the ECP to investigate this case.

Previous Hearings

On Tuesday, Abbasi’s counsel asked the apex court to disqualify Imran Khan for hiding his party funds, adding that the party received the prohibited funds and submitted wrong certificates to Election Commission of Pakistan.

Remarking over the arguments, the chief justice said prohibited funds can be seized under Political Parties Act and the Public Representative Act, adding that no any disqualification can be made under the law.

On Monday, PTI’s counsel Anwar Mansoor argued before the court that Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had no authority to inquire funds of a political party after they have been audited a chartered accountant.

To which, the bench remarked that every political party is accountable for its source of funding according to Article 17 (3) of the Constitution.