ISLAMABAD                -               The ECP Scrutiny Committee formed to investigate the alleged PTI foreign funding has very low progress in probing into the foreign funding case against the ruling party. The committee met for the 51st time in the ECP on Monday. The Committee was formed in March 2018 to complete scrutiny of PTI accounts in one month. However, after almost two years, there is little tangible progress to show. Sources within ECP reveal that the Scrutiny Committee has yet to scrutinise the 23 PTI bank accounts revealed on SBP instructions that were mostly concealed from the ECP. Aaccording to the sources the Committee continues to keep the bank statements secret fearing PTI objections to sharing the same with the petitioner or making them public.

Sources in ECP also reveal that the PTI has challenged the contents of its Special Audit Report. The Special Audit was authorised on the instructions of the PTI Chairman Imran Khan in March 2013.

Sources said that The special audit report had validated the allegations of major financial irregularities including receiving donations in private bank accounts of PTI employees. However sources reveal that the Committee has yet to approach the Lahore based auditor to verify the Special Audit Report as the PTI has accused the auditor of going beyond his mandate. Similarly, sources reveal that the Committee has also yet to conduct any fact finding of PTI bank accounts operated abroad by its international chapters that were all concealed from the ECP. PTI admits of authorizing foreign chapters to operate bank accounts abroad and yet has not shared any details of these bank accounts with the Committee.

The petitioner and PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar feels increasingly disillusioned with the scrutiny process. After two years and scores of meetings, he fears there is no end in sight. He had hoped that after the October 10, 2019 ECP verdict holding PTI responsible for the historic delay in the case, the ECP would redouble its efforts to conclude the five year old case. This did not happen as ECP was allowed to become dysfunctional on December 6, 2019 after the retirement of the former CEC Justice (Retd.) Sardar Muhammad Raza.

Babar claims that the source of Pakistan’s leadership crisis is embedded in individual and family run political parties who refuse to allow merit or transparency within political parties. They merely use political parties to climb onto power by hook or by crook and thus, remain perpetually vulnerable to arm-twisting. The problem is aggravated as there is no earnest effort on the part of ECP to regulate political parties employing the full force of the law. As a result Babar feels that Pakistan remains a country with democracy in form but not in substance.