Foreign funding case: ECP to hold open hearing after scrutiny committee report

DailyTimes  |  Jan 24, 2021

The Election Commission of Pakistan will hold an open hearing of the foreign funding case only after the scrutiny committee submits its recommendations, its spokesperson confirmed Saturday.

He said there was a confusion over whether the hearing would be public or not. The proceedings of the scrutiny committee will not be open, the ECP spokesperson clarified. He said the proceedings are continuing in the presence of both parties and an open hearing will be held to forward the recommendations of the committee after it submits a report.

The statement by the ECP spokesperson comes after Prime Minister Imran Khan challenged all those sceptical of his party’s activities by saying that the proceedings of the foreign funding case should be aired live on TV. Speaking to journalists in South Waziristan, the prime minister said the proceedings should be open and that the party heads should attend the hearings.

Akbar S Babar, a founding member of the PTI, had filed a case against the Imran Khan-led party in November 2014 claiming in his petition that there were massive financial irregularities in handling of foreign funding to the tune of nearly $3 million. Following the petition, the PTI challenged the ECP orders in the IHC in 2017. In the same year, the IHC sent back the case to the electoral body to review its jurisdiction once again. In the case, the high court had also declared Babar as member of the ruling PTI. Later on May 8, 2017, an ECP bench stated that the body had complete jurisdiction over the case.

In March 2018, a scrutiny committee was formed to look into PTI’s foreign funding accounts to determine if there was any wrongdoing.

The PTI at multiple times has sought secrecy in the scrutiny and had also approached the ECP, in this regard. However, in October, 2019, the ECP turned down the party’s request. PTI chief Imran Khan at multiple times has accused the ECP for working for the interests of the opposition in the case.

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