IHC sets aside earlier order on PTI’s foreign funding case

Photo collage of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Babar Sattar (right) and IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah. — IHC website

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has set aside its earlier order that directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to wrap up PTI’s prohibited funding case — which was earlier called the foreign funding case — within a month.

A day earlier, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja had directed the ECP staff to list the foreign funding case as prohibited funding — accepting the PTI’s stance that the matter pertained to illicit procurement of funds.

In its order, a two-member IHC bench — comprising IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Babar Sattar — partially allowed the PTI’s intra-court appeal challenging the earlier decision and directed the ECP to wrap up the matter in a month.

The court disposed of PTI’s petition, noting that ECP has informed the IHC that it has initiated proceedings against PTI and other political parties under the Political Parties Order, 2002, and the Political Parties Rules, 2002.

“…the commission is empowered to regulate its own proceedings and while doing so, it is expected that the proceedings against all the political parties, including the appellant (PTI), will be completed with due diligence,” the order said.

The order noted that the commission has “unequivocally” stated before the court that cases of all the political parties are being dealt with in a fair and transparent manner.

“There is nothing on record to indicate that the appellant (PTI) has been treated differently. It would not be appropriate for this Court to give a direction to the Commission on the basis of unsubstantiated apprehensions,” it said.

It further noted that the court was satisfied that neither an adverse order has been passed by the commission nor it is likely to be passed in derogation of the procedure prescribed under rule 6 of the Rules of 2002.

The order said that the justices were not able “to persuade” themselves that the PTI has been prejudiced in any manner. The order added that in light of these reasons, it partially allows the appeal and sets aside an earlier judgement of the court.

But the court disposed of the order with the expectation that the commission will complete the pending proceedings against other political parties within a reasonable time and in a fair, just, and transparent manner.

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