ISLAMABAD - The main petitioner in the PTI foreign funding case, Akbar S Baber, once again showed his reservations over the progress and status of the Scrutiny Committee and termed it ‘helpless’ as it failed to achieve its goal even after two years.

During the two and half years, the Committee met over 70 times during which on more than twenty-four (24) occasions PTI sought written or oral adjournments on various pretexts. It filed no less than four (4) applications on similar grounds objecting to, among others, the presence of complainant in the scrutiny proceedings and/or seeking secrecy and confidentiality of the proceedings to prevent public and media oversight.  In all this duration the Committee passed at least eighteen (18) orders directing PTI to file pertinent documents/record and documenting the failure and noncompliance of PTI.

There is documented evidence on how PTI forced the Scrutiny Committee to change one of its auditors in March 2019 who was instrumental in drafting of the ECP letter to the State Bank of Pakistan requisitioning PTI accounts that it refused to share with the Committee. Since the change, there is no documented progress in the scrutiny of PTI accounts, the petitioner alleged.

Akbar S. Babar claimed that the Committee in two and half years made no serious attempt to proactively verify the evidence submitted before it by the petitioner. 

 

It is important to mention here that on the final day of the Committee meeting on July 7, 2020, the petitioner’s lawyer Syed Ahmad Hassan Shah queried whether the Committee had lost its mandate and now the unfinished business of conclusive fact finding of PTI accounts would be conducted by the ECP.

 

Akbar S. Babar demanded an ECP inquiry on why the Committee failed to conduct a full and transparent scrutiny of PTI accounts despite an inordinate delay of over two years.

 

He said the Foreign Funding Case is a classic example of the powerful ruling elite who refuse to bow before law and yet get away with it with impunity.

 

It must be noted that the Scrutiny Committee was formed in March 2018; the Committee was initially mandated to complete scrutiny in one month.

 

However, due PTI delaying tactics, its mandate was extended for another two months and subsequently for an indefinite period. Finally on applications filed by the petitioner and PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar complaining about lack of progress, the ECP on July 2, 2020 ordered the Committee to complete its scrutiny by August 17 and submit report to the ECP accordingly.