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Saturday Jan 23 2021

PTI foreign funding case: ECP to hold open hearing after scrutiny committee submits report

  • ECP spokesperson says proceedings of scrutiny committee continuing in presence of both parties
  • Spokesperson says scrutiny committee's powers similar to that of a joint investigation team so open proceedings are not possible
  • After receiving the report of the scrutiny committee, the ECP will hold an open hearing of the foreign funding case, the spokesperson said

ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan will hold an open hearing of the foreign funding case against the PTI 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.

Read more: ECP says public hearing cannot be held in foreign funding case

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.

PM Imran Khan challenges naysayers with open, televised proceedings

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.

PML-N accepts PM Imran Khan's challenge

Accepting PM Imran Khan's challenge on Thursday, PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique said that a person who was "hiding behind a stay order" for the last six years is now talking about live coverage of the proceedings.

Rafique said that PM Imran Khan, who had been "tricking the institutions through lawyers for years", was now making cases against PML-N and PPP.

Read more: In ECP protest, Maryam alleges PM Imran Khan received funding from Israel, India

Moreover, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said that 24 hours have passed, and the prime minister has yet to apply for the foreign funding case's record to be made public.

Case background

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.

Read more: Agents responsible if funds collected illegally, PTI tells ECP in foreign funding case

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.