ISLAMABAD - The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has no jurisdiction to entertain complaints under the Political Parties Order 2002 and the public at large cannot approach it with a complaint under the PPO.

Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf claimed this in its reply to the ECP’s application before the Supreme Court regarding allegations of foreign funding against it.

The PTI says the ECP cannot apply unfettered discretion without any statutory power. The ECP is targeting PTI only, as the commission has ignored the inconsistencies in the accounts of other political parties, it alleged.

The PTI also submitted: “Disqualification of party head under Article 62 and 63 is not the domain of ECP under the PPO and has to be in accordance with the respective law, fundamental rights applied to the true facts and adjudicated through a fair trial.”

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Pakistan filed the accounts statements of major political parties in the Supreme Court.

It filed the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf accounts statement of years 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2014-15 and 2016, Pakistan People’s Party for 2013-14, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, Muttahida Quami Movement (Pakistan) statements for 2013-14, Jamaat Islami for 2016 and 2013-14, Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) for 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 and Pakistan Muslim League (Q) for 2013-14 and 2015-2016.

The PTI reply said that the ECP wants to adjudicate and declare it as a ‘Foreign Aided Party’ defined in Article 2 of PPO, when it does not have jurisdiction in this regards.

The ECP has limited jurisdiction in relation to Article 6(3) of the PPO and that too at the time of filing the accounts where they could scrutinise the accounts and declared if there are any prohibited funds. Therefore now the ECP does not have the jurisdiction to Audit the accounts and enter into fishing and roving inquiry.

It says the accounts have to be audited by the Chartered Accountant and not by the officer of the ECP. Thus the law purposively took away the authority to audit the accounts or go into the details of accounts or enter into any fishing and roving enquiry of the accounts of the political party.

The ECP has passed an order on the complaint of Akbar Sher Babur on 08-05-2017, which it challenged before the Islamabad High Court that Akber Baber has no locus standi, it said.

The PTI alleged that the ECP under Political Parties Order 2002 (PPO) is a statutory body therefore it cannot go beyond the scope of its power provided in PPO. The ECP has not performed its function to scrutinise the accounts of all political parties at the time when the accounts were submitted and accepted them and published in gazette. Therefore, the ECP cannot go back to review its act.

PTI is the only political party which has made proper and complete disclosure and has adopted proper procedure and structure for raising funds, which has been disclosed in Form I, certified b the Chartered Accountant.

The PTI said that the PTI has not committed any fraud or concealed or suppressed any information. It said that a written policy had been placed on its website for public.

The allegations of fraud are ill-founded and the ECP cannot start investigation upon the application of a third party after the expiration of that financial year.

The PTI alleges that due to apparent bias and predetermined mind, the ECP lacks the competence or transparency to carry out any scrutiny of its accounts neutrally, fairly and impartially.