IHC larger bench to hear PTI prohibited funding case

Former prime minister Imran Khan addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Courtesy PTI Instagram

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) acting Chief Justice Aamer Farooq on Tuesday ordered to fix the prohibited funding case against PTI before a larger bench.

The PTI had challenged the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) ruling in the IHC on August 10, seeking annulment of the order in the prohibited funding case.

In his petition filed with the IHC, PTI Additional Secretary-General Omar Ayub asked the court to not only nullify the August 2 ruling, but also revoke the ECP’s show-cause notice sent to PTI Chairperson Imran Khan.

In his remarks during today’s hearing, Justice Aamer Farooq said: “Let us constitute a larger bench to hear this case.”

“The larger bench will hear the case the day after tomorrow [August 18],” he said.

Barristers Anwar Mansoor and Faisal Chaudhary appeared on behalf of the PTI, which was found by the ECP to have received prohibited funding. A notice was issued to the party asking it to explain why the funds should not be confiscated.

“We have challenged the Election Commission’s fact-finding report,” Mansoor said.

According to the lawyer, “it was not necessary to disclose accounts for various reasons”.

“The money went from here (Centre) to provincial accounts, which was not necessary to disclose,” the counsel said.

He appealed to the court to not take any action as far as the show cause notice issued to the party is concerned.

At this, Justice Farooq said that this matter, too, will be taken up by the larger bench.

The court then adjourned the hearing, before issuing directives for a larger bench to hear the case on August 18.

ECP’s fact-finding report

In a unanimous ruling on August 2, a three-member bench of the election commission said it has found that the PTI received prohibited funding.

The case was earlier referred to as the “foreign funding” case, but later the election commission accepted the PTI’s plea to refer to it as the “prohibited funding” case.

As per the 68-page order, the commission stated that the Imran Khan-led PTI did indeed receive funding from foreign companies and individuals, which it hid.

The ECP verdict states that the PTI received funds from 34 individuals and 351 businesses, including companies.

Thirteen unknown accounts have also come to light, said the commission in the verdict, adding that hiding accounts is a “violation” of Article 17 of the Constitution.

Moreover, the ECP found that the PTI chairperson submitted a false Nomination Form I and that the affidavit provided regarding party accounts was false.

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