The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has tasked its scrutiny committee to submit a report on prohibited funding of all political parties within two weeks. The decision was made in a meeting attended by the officers concerned and chaired by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. The scrutiny committee – initially formed in 2019 to investigate the prohibited funding of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – was later tasked to conduct a similar investigation into other political parties, particularly Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). The ECP had to form the committee after conducting numerous hearings of the PTI foreign funding case, filed by the party’s founding member and ex-information secretary Akbar S Babar. The commission, in an order issued on August 2 last year based on the committee’s findings, had said that PTI had received funds from prohibited sources. Babar had alleged serious financial irregularities in the accounts of the then-ruling party, including illegal sources of funding, concealment of bank accounts within the country and abroad, money laundering, and the use of private bank accounts of party employees to receive illegal donations from the Middle East. PTI, subsequently, denied any wrongdoing. Instead, the party in retaliation had moved the Election Commission to the scrutiny of its own records, alleging irregularities and kickbacks in the funding of PML-N, PPP and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). The PTI leaders criticised the electoral body for not expediting the scrutiny of other political parties and only targeting them. Moreover, during the meeting, the commission decided that polling for three National Assembly seats – NA-108 Faisalabad, NA-118 Nankana Sahib, and NA-239 Korangi – will be held on May 28. It also discussed the letters and complaints of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) regarding Sindh local bodies elections and irregularities in Union Council (UC)-119 Hyderabad in the May 7 by-elections. The ECP has fixed May 15 for the hearing of the case and has sought a report from the provincial election commissioner, returning officer (RO), district returning officer (DRO), and district police officer (DPO) within three days. Notices have also been issued to the candidates, RO, DRO, concerned staff and the DPO to appear before the commission on May 15.