Pakistan News

Opposition seeks daily hearing of PTI foreign funding case

Opposition seeks daily hearing of PTI foreign funding case

ISLAMABAD: Leaders from three mainstream opposition political parties on Tuesday submitted an application with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) seeking day-to-day hearing of the foreign funding case against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).

Talking to reporters after a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, the opposition leaders said they also asked the CEC to convene a multi-party conference (MPC) on electoral reforms, an idea he instantly agreed to.

Those who met the CEC included Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, Rana Sanaullah and Khurram Dastgir of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Farhatullah Babar of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Maulana Salahuddin Ayubi of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal.

The opposition leaders had filed a similar application with the ECP in November last, following orders by then CEC Sardar Mohammad Raza for day-to-day hearing of the foreign funding case — something which could not be implemented.

CEC agrees to convene MPC on electoral reforms

The opposition leaders said they feared that the PTI had received funds from anti-Pakistan lobbies and said it had damaged the interests of the country more than an external enemy can. They said overseas Pakistanis had been befooled in the name of Naya Pakistan.

They said they wanted an MPC be convened to identify the deficiencies, negligence and malpractices during the previous general elections and suggest ways and means to prevent hijacking of electoral process in future.

Khawaja Asif said the opposition during the meeting pointed out that no headway could be made in the foreign funding case for years. He said Imran Khan used to speak a lot about accountability from a container, but while a witch-hunt was going on against the opposition in the name of accountability, corruption by his close associates continued to go unchecked despite startling revelations made in the recent past.

He said the pending petition is about funds received by the party from abroad since 2015 and observed that the funding received after that should also be probed. He said the CEC should ensure holding of a credible election that protects sanctity of ballot. He said the CEC had agreed to convene an MPC in the near future for consultations on electoral reforms.

Ahsan Iqbal said the funds received from overseas Pakistanis in the name of Naya Pakistan had been transferred to personal accounts. He said the matter should be thoroughly investigated. He regretted that the PTI was sabotaging the scrutiny process for five years.

Farhatullah Babar said the opposition would point out gaps in the electoral processes that were used to steal the elections in 2018. He said the foreign funding case should be heard on day-to-day basis and decided at the earliest.

Maulana Salahuddin Ayubi said that the foreign funding case should be heard afresh. He criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for making claims which he never implemented.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2020

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