ISLAMABAD -  The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has no jurisdiction to determine whether or not a party was receiving foreign funds from prohibited sources.

When a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar took up Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Hanif Abbasi’s petition —against PTI chief Imran Khan as well as Jehangir Tareen for having offshore companies — and seeking his (Imran) disqualification for “giving false declaration that the party did not receive funds from a prohibited source”, PTI counsel Anwar Mansoor said: “I had another glance of the law and looked at the court observation made on Wednesday in this regard. In my views of Articles 2 and 3 of Political Parties Order (PPO), 2002, is different from the Article 6 of PPO,” he said.

The counsel told the bench that he was unable to discuss the issue with his client (Imran) as he was not in town. He sought time from the bench to consult his client before submitting a reply. Earlier, the bench had hinted that the issue of funding could be referred to the ECP to determine whether or not they were received from prohibited sources.

He also recorded a statement before the court that said: “According to my interpretation, Article 6(2) of PPO relates to money received in Pakistan domestically except for the money received from foreign government, which is distinct from Articles 2, 3 and 15 of PPO read with Article 17(2) of Constitution of Pakistan. The penalty and jurisdiction provided in both are different and distinct and do not overlap. The allegations levelled in the petition are regarding foreign funding , which according to me, is not the domain of the Election Commission.”

The bench without expressing any view granted the time to PTI counsel to consult his client. He was directed to submit the reply at the next hearing on May 23.

Earlier, the PML-N leader’s counsel Akram Sheikh said that a day earlier the court had provided a fair opportunity to the PTI counsel. He said there was apprehension that they (respondent) would raise the issue of maintainability, which they did not.

The PTI counsel said that the question of the jurisdiction has been challenged in ECP. “There, my contention is that the ECP is neither a court nor a tribunal and it can’t adjudicate the matter.” He further argued that the law does not provide an opportunity to an individual to challenge the party funding. Anwar said that they would challenge the ECP order.

He said that Articles 2 and 3 of the PPO relates to foreign funding , while Article 6 of the law is regarding domestic funds and Article 6 of PPO should be read with the Article 17(2) of Constitution.

He said that if a local multi-national company gives funds to a party then it prohibited, but if it sends money from abroad then it is ok. Justice Atta Bandial observed that it was incorporated in Article 17 of the Constitution that a political party shall not operate in the manner prejudicial to the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan.

The PTI counsel said under Article 2 and 3 of PPO, it is the domain of the federal government to determine political parties’ funding. “The ECP can’t decide about the foreign funds directly,” he said. The hearing was adjourned until May 23.