ECP asks PPP, PML-N to submit replies to PTI’s foreign funding allegations

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday began hearing Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) petitions accusing the PML-N and the PPP of illegal and unlawful funding.
Faisal Chaudhry appeared for the petitioner Farrukh Habib while Advocate Jahangir Jadoon will represent PML-N and PPP leader Latif Khosa decided to defend his party in the case.
Irshad Qaiser, a member of the bench, asked the PTI lawyer to explain whether complaints could be filed under Section 15 of the Political Parties Order (PPO).
The ECP’s five-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice Sardar Raza, issued notices to PML-N President Nawaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari seeking their replies in the case.The hearing was adjourned until January 8, 2018.
In two separate complaints filed with the ECP, PTI leader Habib has accused the PML-N and the PPP of concealing their sources of funds and companies registered by them in the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively, and sought cancellation of election symbols allocated to them “for their failure to meet legal requirements for eligibility to obtain the symbols”.
Last week, in its verdict on Hanif Abbasi’s petition accusing PTI of being a foreign-funded party, the Supreme Court had sent the matter to the ECP for investigation.
“The ECP must act transparently, fairly and justly, without discrimination among different political parties,” the chief justice had written in the judgement.
“For undertaking such scrutiny, it shall be reasonable for the ECP to examine the accounts of a political party within five years of the objected accounts of that party having been published in the official gazette.”
Following the decision, the ECP has begun hearing all illegal funding petitions filed with it. The PTI finance secretary is scheduled to appear before the commission on January 16, 2018 in connection with one such petition filed by PT dissident Akbar S. Babar.