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ECP cannot audit party funds: PTI chief’s counsel

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief’s counsel, Anwar Mansoor, claimed before the Supreme Court today that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has no right to audit a political party’s funds after they have been audited by a chartered accountancy firm.

Mansoor, the counsel for PTI Chairman Imran Khan, was presenting his arguments before the three-judge Supreme Court bench, which resumed hearing the disqualification case against the PTI chairman today.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi petitioned the Supreme Court late last year to disqualify Imran and PTI leader Jahangir Tareen for ‘not declaring their assets and violating the income tax ordinance and peoples act’. The petition also terms the PTI a ‘foreign funded party’.

Mansoor resumed arguments today after being absent from previous proceedings owing to a medical leave.

Addressing the bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Faisal Arab and Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Mansoor argued that the ECP can only conduct scrutiny and not an inquiry of funds.

He claimed the law has no provision for the ECP to inquire into a party’s funds once its details have been submitted to it.

The chief justice observed whether not having the power to scrutinise funds is an acceptable defence by the PTI.

He further remarked that the defence being presented by the counsel is not per the correct interpretation of the law.

Mansoor is continuing PTI counsel Naeem Bukhari’s arguments presenting the money trail of Imran’s properties in London and Islamabad.

The hearing was then adjourned until tomorrow.

Once Mansoor’s arguments are completed, PML-N’s counsel Akram Sheikh will argue against his replies.

Addressing the media outside the court, Abbasi claimed that Imran Khan lied before the court.

Speaking alongside Abbasi, PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz said he has given proof of Imran’s corruption of tax invasion and concealing assets to their lawyer.

Responding to the allegations by the PML-N leaders, PTI chief’s spokesperson Naeemul Haq said Imran has submitted all the documents in court.

He accused the PML-N counsel of shooting in the dark with regards to the case.

At the last hearing on Tuesday, Bukhari had said that after receiving the documents from Imran’s former wife, Jemima, the money trail [of selling the London flat and acquiring property in Bani Gala] has been completed.

During the hearing, the chief justice observed that Bukhari will be given time to verify the documents.

“We will try our best to satisfy the court and will go to London if need be to verify the documents,” said Bukhari.

Addressing the media after the hearing, PTI Spokesman Fawad Chaudhry had said the case against Imran belongs in the waste basket.

In his media talk, Abbasi had claimed the PTI chairman is heading towards disqualification. He claimed the PTI chief’s lawyer has already accepted in court that the party receives foreign funding.

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