ECP reserves judgment on Imran’s ‘jurisdiction’ plea

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Tuesday reserved judgment in a petition filed by PTI chief Imran Khan challenging the commission’s jurisdiction in the contempt case filed by PTI Founding Member and former Central Vice President Akbar S. Babar. The matter has been pending before the commission since January this year.
Babar had filed the case after Imran Khan accused the ECP of political bias and working in league with the petitioner in the foreign funding case instead of complying with ECP orders of Dec 1, 2016 to produce financial accounts.
It is pertinent to mention here that the PTI had filed a second writ petition in the IHC seeking
stay against ECP proceeding with the case and seeking PTI financial documents for scrutiny. The IHC had rejected the stay petition on July 14 and set October 25 as the next date of hearing.
In previous contempt case hearings, lawyers representing Imran Khan had delayed proceedings successively on the plea that Imran Khan was busy travelling to Nathiagali and other cities and could not find the time to sign the reply.
However, Imran Khan’s counsel, the 5th lawyer in the case, Dr Babar Awan filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the ECP to hear the contempt case. It may be mentioned here that on July 19, Syed Ahmed Hasan, the petitioner’s counsel had argued in detail citing relevant constitutional provisions as well as law that gives the ECP all the powers to hear the contempt case.
On Tuesday, Babar Awan, a former PPP leader who had previously defended Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari in corruption cases countered the arguments made by the petitioner’s lawyer. He argued that accusing a judge or a court of bias does not necessarily constitute contempt.
He said alleging bias is the inherent right of the defendant and that it could not be labeled as ‘contempt.’
Babar while talking to media, said since he could rightfully claim the title of the Father of Foreign Funding Case, it was natural for him to take interest in the foreign funding case before the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
He rubbished the 688 page PTI document in 3 volumes submitted before the SCP out of which 629 pages or 91 percent of the document are excel sheets of individuals listed as donors of PTI in the US. He said the actual evidence of donors is available on the US Department of Justice Website that lists foreign nationals and companies that donated money to PTI illegally.
Babar said the PTI had failed to submit a single bank statement out of several PTI bank accounts as evidence because the PTI bank statements would reveal tons of unaccounted money concealed from the ECP that was mostly siphoned off.
Similarly he said the documents submitted by PTI before the Supreme Court of Pakistan does not include; PTI UK bank accounts (Lloyds Bank), any detail of tons of money raised in Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Australia, Canada, and several EU countries mostly illegally by friends of Imran Khan including Zulqarnain Ali Khan in Saudi Arabia and Imran Chaudhery in Dubai. All the money raised in these countries illegally has been concealed from the ECP as no details are shown in the audit reports submitted before the ECP by PTI, he added.

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