ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has challenged the jurisdiction of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in party foreign funding case.
PTI’s Counsel Saqlain Haider in a hearing on Tuesday told the five-member bench, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza, that they have challenged the ECP’s orders in the IHC relating to submission of party bank accounts. Hence, the election commission could not summon the details, he asserted.
A five-member committee queried whether the high court has issued any orders that bar them from hearing the case.
“Has the high court passed any restraining orders?” the chief election commissioner asked.
The PTI counsel apprised the court that the IHC had not passed any restraining orders yet but it would hear the petition filed by the party on Wednesday.
“How can we adjourn the proceedings without any restraining order from the high court?” Raza, himself a retired justice, asserted. The PTI’s counsel then contended that a petition of similar nature was also being heard by the Supreme Court so the matter should be adjourned, he insisted.
The PTI’s lawyer requested the ECP to adjourn the matter till next week, as PTI lead counsel Mansoor was busy in the apex court. However, the chief election commissioner turned down the request and adjourned the hearing till today (Wednesday).
The election commission also expressed its annoyance over PTI’s non-compliance in providing details of its bank accounts.
It is worth mentioning here that the ECP had given last chance to PTI in a hearing on May 13 for submission of party bank account details.
The foreign funding case has been in limbo since Oct 8, 2015 when a full bench of the ECP rejected the PTI’s stance that the commission did not have jurisdiction to scrutinise the party’s accounts.
The documents sought include the registration of deeds of two US-based offshore companies, which were allegedly used to collect $3 million and transfer the funds to PTI accounts in Pakistan.