ISLAMABAD    -      The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday rejected four petitions filed by the ruling PTI seeking secrecy during the scrutiny of its foreign funding sources.

The commission asked the PTI lawyer to appear before the special scrutiny committee on October 14.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Mohammad Raza heard the case and also directed the scrutiny committee to carry on its work in order to further investigate the issue.

The ECP bench in the previous hearing had reserved its verdict on the PTI’s applications after hearing arguments of different stockholders in the case.

PTI’s founding member Akbar S Babar had filed the case in 2014, alleging that nearly $3 million in illegal foreign funds were collected through two offshore companies and that money was sent through illegal ‘hundi’ channels from the Middle East to the accounts of ‘PTI employees’.

He had also alleged that the foreign accounts used to collect funds were concealed from the annual audit reports submitted to the ECP.

A scrutiny committee was formed in March last year to complete an audit of PTI’s funding sources in one month. Its mandate was later extended for an indefinite period.

Addressing the reporters outside the ECP on Thursday, Akbar S Babar said that the applications filed by the ruling party were rejected by the commission. He further said that the process of scrutiny of PTI’s funding would be brought to its conclusion.

He said the funding case would reveal the true facts to people. He said he had no personal enmity with Prime Minister Imran Khan saying that he wanted to let the common people know about the truth.

He said the special scrutiny committee formed by the commission had met 24 times but still the PTI had reservations over the status of the committee. He elaborated that the incumbent government has completely failed and the reason of its alleged failure was the rules and regulations.

APP adds: The order of ECP reserved judgment was issued by a three-member commission, headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza along with two other members including Justice (r) Altaf Ibrahim Qureshi and Justice (r) Mrs Irshad Qaiser.

The Commission also directed the parties to appear before the Scrutiny Committee on October 14, while dismissing four applications against the Committee.

In the last proceeding, the Commission heard the arguments on four applications, submitted by the PTI to the Scrutiny Committee with request to take notice of its concerns.

PTI counsels advocates Saqlain Haider advocate and Hassan Ali Raza had informed the Commission that the scrutiny parameters were not observed by the committee as per Supreme Court judgment.

Saqlain Haider had made appeal before the court to take notice of the leakages of information to the media from the documents available with the scrutiny committee.

He told that PTI had submitted all details to the scrutiny committee but it had violated its mandate and made direct contacts with the banks to get information.

He was of the viewpoint that during committee’s proceedings, Akbar S Babar with mala fide intention tried to defame the party through media while sharing wrong information about party funding.

The PTI counsels informed the commission that the scrutiny committee had continued its proceedings against the notion of TORs, which were established in the light of Supreme Court.

According to them, when the case was in the committee, media hype was created against PTI regarding foreign funding case. There was issue of leakages of information on the basis of documents submitted with the scrutiny committee, they informed.

They said that without any confirmation wrong information was circulated in media about 23 accounts, on which media started questioning. They added all such things had politically damaged the position of the party.

They informed the bench that all required information about the accounts had been submitted with the committee. They added that PTI never made any concealment however with intentions the party was maligned in the media.

They informed the commission that several programmes were telecast on media on PTI foreign funding. They said that the scrutiny committee had been requested several times to share copies of account details as shared by the State Bank of Pakistan attributed to PTI, but they didn’t share it.

Syed Ahmad Hassan advocate who was counsel of Akbar S Babar denied any involvement on wrong sharing of information and clarified that they always talked about facts finding rather taking matters personal.