Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday refused to cooperate with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on a probe into his party’s prohibited funding, maintaining that the agency lacked the jurisdiction to proceed with its investigation.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), early in August, issued its ruling on the PTI’s prohibited funding case, declaring the party had received funds from prohibited sources, including foreign nationals and companies. That same week, the FIA constituted a five-member team to supervise inquiry teams tasked with probing the matter and sent a letter to Khan on Aug. 12 directing him to provide details of the total funds secured by the PTI from national and international companies and firms.
According to local media, the FIA also asked the ousted prime minister to provide his financial details, as well as a list of his party’s office-bearers; record of donors; and names of individuals who operated the party’s bank accounts.
The response submitted by Khan to the FIA—dated Aug. 16—accused the FIA of trying to act on a decision of the ECP that did not fall within its jurisdiction. “I am neither answerable to you nor obliged to provide information,” read the reply, adding the Supreme Court had held, in multiple cases, the ECP was an administrative body, not a court or tribunal, and its decisions were considered “reports” and not “orders.” In light of this, read the letter, ECP could not direct any state organ such as the FIA to act on the basis of its report and therefore the agency had no jurisdiction to act.
“As per the Political Parties Act 2002, FIA does not have the authority to take action,” read the response, stressing the FIA notice sent to him was in direct contradiction to law. “The notice issued is otherwise contrary to the provisions of the FIA Act,” states the letter, stressing that the FIA had “malafidely and for motivated intent and reasons chosen to require PTI to submit to your jurisdiction and give documents to you.” It demanded that the FIA notice be withdrawn within two days, warning that if this did not occur, Khan and the PTI would proceed against the FIA in a court of law.