ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the counsel for Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader to place on record documents to substantiate claims that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had received funds from sources prohibited under the relevant law, ARY News reported
Headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar the three-judge bench was seized with the hearing of a petition filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi through which he sought disqualification of Imran Khan and PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen for not disclosing assets, an existence of their offshore companies and receiving funds from prohibited sources.
Chief Justice observed that there was no material on record to prove that the party in question received prohibited funds.
Advocate Akram Sheikh, who represented the petitioner, contended that the party had admitted to receiving funds from prohibited sources in its documents.
To which, the chief justice asked him to bring on record such documents showing that PTI accepted donations from prohibited sources. PTI’s foreign agent, appointed to collect funds from abroad, had submitted an affidavit that the party had not received funds from sources prohibited under the law, he added.
If you consider Pakistanis working abroad or having dual nationality as noncitizens, then isn’t what Ramzan Chippa is doing illegal, the chief justice asked.
The bench held that it was a prerogative of the Election Commission of Pakistan to decide whether funds were received from prohibited sources.
During the previous hearing, the CJP had questioned how the court could disqualify PTI chairman Imran Khan under Article 62 of the Constitution when the Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002 did not envision such a punishment for submitting a fake document to prove that no funds from prohibited sources were received by the party.
He observed that political parties are legally bound to disclose the sources of their funding. He added parties are further required to explain whether the funding was received from legal sources and can be subjected to accountability and scrutiny by the ECP.
However, Anwar Mansoor Khan, the counsel for PTI chairman, contended that the Election Commission of Pakistan had no powers to conduct scrutiny of political parties’ funds after the amendment in the Political Parties Act 2002 which stripped the commission of its powers to look into the funding of political parties.