ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday reserved its verdict on the petition filed by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) ruling in the prohibited funding case.
In August 2022, the ECP ruled that the PTI had received “illicit” funds and donations from the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Headed by IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and comprising Justice Miangul Hassan and Justice Babar Sattar, the IHC’s larger bench heard the case.
Ahead of reserving the verdict, IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that the court exists to make legal decisions and not resolve political matters. He added that the ECP was only supposed to work constitutionally, which was limited to the confiscation of funds.
The IHC has told the election commission that if the party succeeds in proving that its funding was not prohibited, then the ECP would have to take back its August decision.
PTI ‘grossly aggrieved’ by ECP findings
The PTI had, on August 10 last year, challenged the ECP ruling in the IHC, seeking annulment of the order in the prohibited funding case.
In his petition filed with the IHC, PTI Additional Secretary-General Omar Ayub asked the court to not only nullify the August 2 ruling but also revoke the ECP’s show-cause notice sent to PTI Chairman Imran Khan.
The petitioner said he was “grossly aggrieved” by the fact-finding report — which revealed that the PTI had obtained funds from foreign sources — and demanded that it be declared “perverse, incorrect and in excess of authority and jurisdiction”.
In his petition, he also asked the court to “declare that any action suggested by the ECP is beyond its authority and that no action can be taken on the basis of a fact-finding report”.
The PTI also made the ECP a party in the case.
On August 02, 2022, the ECP, in a unanimous verdict, announced that the PTI received prohibited funding. The case was earlier referred to as the “foreign funding” case, but later the election commission accepted the PTI’s plea to refer to it as the “prohibited funding” case.
The commission found that donations were taken from America, Australia, Canada and the UAE.
PTI received funds from 34 individuals and 351 businesses including companies, the ECP verdict stated.
Thirteen unknown accounts also came to light, said the commission in the verdict, adding that hiding accounts are a “violation” of Article 17 of the Constitution.
The funds were also in violation of Article 6 of the Political Parties Act.
Moreover, the ECP found that Khan submitted a false Nomination Form I and that the affidavit provided regarding party accounts was also not authentic.