Wednesday Jan 20, 2021
LAHORE: The petitioner in the PTI foreign funding case and one of the ruling party's founding members, Akbar S. Babar, said Wednesday he has no confidence in the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) scrutiny committee.
Speaking to the media in Lahore, Babar alleged the PTI had submitted fake documents to the ECP, and asked why details of the 23 bank accounts associated with the ruling party were not being made public. "The details of one of the 23 bank accounts were not revealed," he added.
"The scrutiny is not transparent. The scrutiny committee has failed; it was not working properly," he said.
Babar further cast aspersions on the committee, saying "there are seven days in a week yet they held 14 hearings, so how is that possible?"
"Why are the facts being hidden? Why is the illegal funding of PTI being kept secret? People want to know the truth. The ruling party has received large-scale funding from illegal sources."
Babar further reminded people that the premier had ordered an audit of the sugar companies of Pakistan. "Did Prime Minister Imran Khan not conduct an audit against the sugar companies?
"I have told the ECP that the [scrutiny] committee is not conducting a transparent investigation," the ruling party's former founding member added.
"I submitted in writing back in March 2020 that the scrutiny committee was not working transparently. [However] we were being forced to accept the fake documents from the PTI.
Babar added that the demand from day one was for the ECP to review the records and the scrutiny committee to submit a final report. "It's not lack of confidence but more about the fears" pertaining to the case and its investigation.
However, upon expressing concern, the ECP's scrutiny committee refused to take further action and progress with the proceedings, he claimed.
"The scrutiny committee's task was to examine the PTI's documents, the petitioner said, alleging that it had admitted to "being under pressure" from the ruling party.
"How can a scrutiny committee conduct a transparent investigation under pressure," Babar asked. "The ECP should investigate the foreign funding case on a daily basis and announce its decision. I have worked with the scrutiny committee for three years but their walk-out is unfortunate."
The ruling party's former founding member expressed gratitude to the Opposition's anti-government coalition, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) for "highlighting the major issue of foreign funding".
On the other hand, the PTI's legal counsel, Shah Khawar, said the scrutiny process has been completed and the committee has given its recommendations to the ECP.
"The ECP told the scrutiny committee that some aspects were left in the report," Khawar stated, adding that he did not know what those other aspects were.