ISLAMABAD: Petitioner’s counsel in PTI funding case in his arguments on Monday said that all accounts were opened on the party’s instructions and had to made public under Rule 5.
A three-member panel of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja heard the case today.
Counsel Ahmad Hassan said that Article 5 (i) was not read properly, ” foreign nationals and companies are out of the parameters of the law. PTI was submitting bank statements in the past but now they are unaware”, counsel said. “The impression was created that we have provided each thing to the election commission,” counsel said.
“The scrutiny committee got all details from a bank,” he argued.
“The PTI made a massive cover up. A company LLC PTI was established in the United States. Our law prohibits such companies, it is unlawful to establish a company for funding,” Ahmad Hassan argued.
“You are saying the companies could not be established, then what was the need,” CEC questioned. “They said it was compulsion for them to establish a company in the US,” the CEC further said.
“Opening a company in the US was either their ignorance or incompetence,” counsel said. “Misappropriation of money could be an objective, but it is the PTI that have to give the answer,” petitioner’s lawyer argued.
“They should be made accountable for misstatement to the election commission,” he said. “It was easier for the scrutiny committee to trace who is a Pakistani citizen and who is not.”
“PTI was submitting their bank statement in 2002,” counsel said. “The PTI has now also given thorough details of its finances,” CEC stated. “The record was given on the demand of the scrutiny committee,” counsel said.
“The PTI was bound to disclose all its accounts in country or in the overseas, ” lawyer said. “There was no need to establish a company for funding under the law in overseas,” he said.
“What benefit you think the PTI achieved by setting up a company,” CEC questioned. “Either it was their incompetence or for misappropriation of the money,” the counsel replied. “Constituting a company in America is illegal under the national law,” he said. “The PTI had earlier made false statements before the court and now in the supreme court,” he said.
“The scrutiny committee should have sent the donors names to the NADRA for identification.”You have already presented your objections on the scrutiny committee in your arguments,” CEC said.
“What will be the consequences if any account has been kept secret,” CEC asked. “The election commission could act over the negative impression,” Ahmad Hassan said.
“The PTI in beginning accepted the special audit report but rejected it in a later stage,” counsel said. “It refused it after evidence of prohibited funding in the audit report,” lawyer argued.
“The election commission should issue a show cause to the PTI for confiscation of the prohibited funding,” counsel said. “A separate show cause notice should also be issued over not providing details which were kept in secret,” he said.
“The political party is bound to Pakistan’s law not the Canada’s,” he argued.
“They made an issue with regard to Ahsan and Ahsan report. PTI accepted that it had got the audit conducted. The document is still present at the PTI website,” he said. “They should be directed to provide the accounts. The ECP should take separate action against it,” he said.
“An entity has made heavy funding in Canada with huge amounts. Who is the sender of this amount,” Ahmad Hassan questioned. “Wootton Cricket Club’s owner Arif Naqvi sent money,” counsel said.
“Under which law a political party allows employees to open accounts. The election commission should look into their accounts to know who sent that money,” he said.
“The PTI first refused to own five accounts from 28 and later disown another 11 accounts,” petitioner’s counsel said.
“Three million dollars’ amount was received from the account of Rohita Shetty, she is an Indian national,” Akbar S. Babar’s counsel said.
“They have still failed to submit Year 2013 record. Scrutiny committee said that Akbar Babar didn’t submit verified documents, Babar had taken these papers from the PTI’s website”.
The burden of proof has been over the PTI and not on Akbar S. Babr,” the counsel said while concluding his contentions.
“Our financial expert will give briefing to the commission tomorrow,” the counsel said. He also asked the ECP to allow Akbar S. Babar to give his statement.
ECP panel while allowing it, adjourned further hearing of the case till 11:00 AM tomorrow.