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Imran challenges jurisdiction of ECP in PTI foreign funding case

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the jurisdiction of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the foreign funding case.

In his capacity as chairman of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan also prayed that the Islamabad High Court’s decision of declaring Akbar S Babar a part of the ruling party null and void.

In December last year, the IHC had declared that party membership of Babar, an estranged PTI leader and the petitioner in the case, remained intact and transferred the foreign funding case back to the ECP.

In the petition, Imran Khan has said that Akbar S Babar has not been a part of the party since 2011. He argued that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has no right to hear the case as Babar was not a member of the PTI. He clarified that Babar had sent an email in which he had stated that he had left the party, adding that the email is on the record.

In the plea, the PTI chairman said that the IHC ignored the decisions of the apex court as well. He contended in his application that IHC cannot exercise its powers under Article 199 to announce the verdict ‘based on conflicting facts’. He also claimed that the estranged PTI leader, who was stripped of his membership in 2011, is not an affected party in the case. He also stated that Babar’s presence in the scrutiny committee was against the law. The PTI chief prayed that the IHC verdict regarding Babar’s membership be declared null and void and the ECP is barred from hearing the case.

Babar, a founding member of the PTI, had filed a case against the Imran Khan-led party in November 2014 claiming in his petition that there were massive financial irregularities in handling of foreign funding to the tune of nearly $3 million. Following the petition, the PTI had challenged the ECP orders in the IHC in 2017. In the same year, the IHC sent back the case to the electoral body to review its jurisdiction once again. In the case, the high court had also declared Babar as member of the ruling PTI.

Later on May 8, 2017, an ECP bench stated that the body had complete jurisdiction over the case. In March 2018, a scrutiny committee was formed to look into PTI’s foreign funding accounts to determine if there was any wrongdoing.

The PTI on multiple times has sought secrecy in the scrutiny and had also approached the ECP in this regard. However, in October of last year the ECP turned down the party’s request. The PTI chief on multiple times has accused the ECP of working for the interests of the opposition in the case.

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