Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) counsel Anwar Mansoor reiterated before the Supreme Court on Thursday that neither the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) nor the apex court had jurisdiction over a petition that seeks the disqualification of PTI chief Imran Khan and Secretary General Jehangir Tareen.
The petition, filed by PML-N leader Hanif Abbasi, accuses the two PTI leaders of concealing their assets from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and seeks to unseat them based on their alleged violations of the lncome Tax Ordinance 1979 and Peoples Act 1974.
The petition, which was accepted by the apex court in November last year, also accuses the PTI of being a ‘foreign-funded’ party.
“The Supreme Court and the ECP do not have jurisdiction to hear the case regarding foreign funding,” Mansoor told a three-member bench of the apex court on Thrusday.
During Wednesday’s hearing, the bench had warned PTI’s counsel that it could appoint the ECP to act as a commission authorised with thoroughly investigating the party’s claim that it had not received foreign funding.
“What will be your response if today, for the purpose of determining whether PTI is a foreign-funded party or not, if we direct the ECP to act as a commission on our behalf and report back after a detailed inquiry, similar to the joint investigation team (JIT) constituted in the Panama Papers case?”Chief Justice Saqib Nisar — who is chairing the apex bench hearing the petition — had asked Mansoor.
The bench had asked the PTI counsel to satisfy the court on this issue when he resumes arguments on Thursday. Continuing with his arguments on Thursday, Mansoor told the court that only the government has the authority to investigate foreign funding for political parties, adding that if the case was referred to the ECP, the commission would be challenged.
“The government has the authority to investigate allegations of foreign funding. After investigations, the political parties are sent a notice.” He further told the court that there is a prohibition on parties receiving funds from multinational companies, carrying forward yesterday’s line of defence: that parties are allowed to accept donations from members and supporters, even those living abroad and holding dual nationalities.
The PTI’s counsel also told the bench that one person alone cannot challenge the accounts of a political party. The bench granted Mansoor time to consult with his client regarding the matter being forwarded to the ECP.
“Don’t think we have accepted your argument that one individual cannot challenge the accounts of a political party just because we have given you time to consult with your client,” the chief justice told the lawyer. The case was adjourned till May 23.