The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has rejected a petition submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) plea to jointly hear foreign funding cases against all political parties rendering its judgment in the party’s foreign funding case.
A three-member bench of the ECP, led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, rejected a claim of PTI’s lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had directed the electoral body to hear all the foreign funding cases simultaneously. Khan had refused to make any arguments on Wednesday—when he was originally set to commence his concluding arguments—after claiming that the IHC’s order had relaxed the 30-day deadline set to decide the foreign funding case and asked the ECP to carry out scrutiny of all parties without any discrimination.
He also claimed that as hearings on other cases were in progress and a detailed report would be presented before the IHC on May 17, the ECP should wait for the scrutiny committee’s reports on foreign funding cases against the PMLN and PPP before proceeding further.
Rejecting the lawyer’s assertion, the ECP said the IHC order had issued no such direction, adding that the PTI’s foreign funding case had already been pending for almost eight years and required an early conclusion. The CEC said that all cases were being heard but none could be delayed to favor another, and noted that the PTI’s request for it to be provided the financial documents of all other parties had already been accepted.
However, the ECP allowed the PTI an extension till May 10 to complete its arguments.
The PTI lawyer’s delaying tactic was strongly objected to by the lawyer of petitioner Akbar S. Babar, who said any further delays were tantamount to denial of fair treatment for his client. He said that the PTI should not be allowed to misconstrue the IHC order, adding that the case had already been delayed for nearly seven years and six months, 2,710 days or 65,040 hours.