The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) did not want the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to have a look into its financial matters and for that matter the party equated the commission’s assumption of jurisdiction to decide the issue with the authority imposing martial law in the country.
The revelation was made by the written order released by the ECP on Wednesday wherein Chief Election Commissioner Justice (retd) Sardar Raza Khan expressed surprise over the comparison drawn by the PTI.
Former Attorney General and PTI counsel Anwar Mansoor Khan had produced a Supreme Court ruling, in which the judgment (PLD 209 SC 879) noted as ‘interesting’ to prove his point that the ECP could not hear the case filed by party’s former founding member.
“A study of the above ruling to which coincidently I was also one of the members of the bench, we fail to understand as to how assumption of jurisdiction by the Election Commission of Pakistan, being the only relevant authority, can be equated when assumption of powers by the authority imposing emergency in the country or martial law. In the present case the jurisdiction is not merely assumed, it completely vests in the commission and in no other authority,” reads the order.
Akbar S Babar, founding member of PTI, had filed a case alleging illegal foreign funding and corruption against the party in November 2014. However, the PTI questioned ECP’s jurisdiction in the case.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Babar stated that despite repeated written complaints to Imran Khan in September 2011 about financial irregularities in managing PTI funds that could put the party in legal and political jeopardy, he took no action and instead protected and promoted the guilty in the party.
The alleged financial illegalities could lead to charges of money laundering against the PTI and its leadership, he added.
In its decision, the ECP rejected the PTI stand while quoting Political Parties Order, 2002 and Political Parties Rules, 2002 saying: “…If the statement could not be scrutinised at the time of submission, the law does not prohibit that the same cannot be done subsequently. The commission does never surrender its powers as there is no estoppel in law and such jurisdiction can be assumed any time.”
Had the commission lacked such powers, there was no fun in submitting such statements compulsorily before the commission, the order added.
The question of jurisdiction is, consequently, answered in the affirmative with the next hearing set for November 10, 2015 for “examination/scrutiny of record, it concludes.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.