ISLAMABAD: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday allowed the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to peruse documents related to foreign funding cases against the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
A two-member bench of the commission comprising Nisar Ahmad Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi accepted the application filed by Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib seeking access to the accounts of the two major opposition parties at a hearing of the foreign funding case.
Farrukh Habib said on Monday that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were making excuses for the past four years for not providing details of foreign funding, but PTI would present facts in front of the nation.
Talking to media outside Election Commission of Pakistan, he said according to State Bank of Pakistan, the PPP had 7 accounts whereas PML-N had 12 accounts. “These are the people who are hiding behind the delay,” he said adding that the opposition party accounts were used for money laundering.
He said that the chartered accountant firm and the PML-N wanted to hide their accounts from the nation, but PTI would present facts in front of the nation. Farrukh said Nawaz Sharif’s accounts were also used for money laundering and his party took money from mafia for its own interests.
The minister said that the PML-N and the PPP had always considered themselves above the law, but now both the parties have fallen in the same pit which they had dug for the PTI.
He said now Bilawal Bhutto would now know how many fake accounts his party had. He said that millions of rupees were deposited in the fake accounts belonging to PPP and PML-N.
Talking to the media after the hearing, the minister said the PML-N had concealed seven accounts while the PPP had hidden 12 accounts from the ECP. He said he requested the commission to give the ruling party access to the financial accounts of both parties for a ‘meaningful audit’.
He said the PPP and PML-N were hiding the facts that he would bring before the nation. “We will bring to light the fake accounts of PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz,” the minister said.
He claimed due to delay on part of the ECP to decide his petition the people had hidden their corruption. “Now we would not let them run away,” he added.
Mr Habib said that the government after analysing the accounts of the opposition parties, the PPP and the PML-N, would put the record before a scrutiny committee. He said the ruling PTI was the only party to have provided record of its 40,000 donors to the ECP.
He claimed that financial experts and chartered accounts would examine in detail the financial documents of the opposition parties. “Both the parties used to take money from mafias,” he alleged.
He also accused the PML-N of using party accounts for “money laundering”.
While reserving the judgement on the minister’s plea seeking permission for access to financial documents related to the foreign funding cases against the PML-N and the PPP on Sept 15, the commission had set October 11 to announce the decision.
The minister through his counsel had earlier argued that Akbar S. Babar, a disgruntled leader of the PTI who had filed a petition in the foreign funding case against the ruling party, had been given access to the entire record submitted by the PTI. Likewise, he said, the PTI should be given access to the record submitted by the PML-N and PPP.
Yousuf Gilani’s petition adjourned
Meanwhile, the ECP adjourned till Nov 15 the hearing of petitions seeking disqualification of PPP senator Yousaf Raza Gillani.
PTI lawmaker Maleeka Bokhari filed a fresh application requesting the ECP to summon in person both respondents Senator Gillani and his son Ali Haider Gillani.
The defence counsel argued that since more than 60 days had passed after the Senate polls, the commission under the law could not hear the matter.
The ECP then asked the counsel for the senator to file written replies on admissibility of the petition as well as plea for personal appearance and adjourned the hearing till November 15.
The petition had been filed on the basis of a leaked audio clip of Sindh Minister Nasir Hussain Shah purportedly bargaining with four PTI lawmakers for their votes in Senate elections and a video of Gillani’s son, Ali Haider, in which he was telling some PTI legislators ways to waste their votes.
TLP given time for intraparty polls
The matter related to intraparty elections of outlawed Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) also came up for hearing. The counsel for the TLP sought time till the end of January for conduct of polls, pleading that that 60 per cent of its leaders that formed the electoral college were behind bars.
The ECP accepted the plea of the banned outfit and allowed more time for holding of intraparty polls.