August 4, 2022

By Rehan Piracha


LAHORE: The federal cabinet has decided to send a reference to the Supreme Court for the dissolution of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf in light of the Election Commission’s ruling that the party received prohibited funding from foreign nationals and companies, said Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb.

Separately, PTI parliamentarians and supporters called for the resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner in protests held outside different ECP offices in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

“The ECP ruling in the PTI prohibited funding case states that the party received funds from foreigners and under Political Parties Order 2002 and Election Act 2017 a party is deemed a foreign-aided party if it receives a portion of its funding from foreigners,” Aurangzeb told reporters at a press briefing on the meeting of the federal cabinet. The ECP ruling declared PTI to be a foreign-aided party by receiving funds from prohibitive sources, she added.

According to Pakistan laws, a foreign-aided party can be dissolved by sending a reference to the Supreme Court. She said the federal government was bound to act under prevalent laws on a ruling given by a constitutional institution of the Election Commission.

The information minister said the law ministry was given a time of three days to prepare the reference and present it in the next federal cabinet meeting.

FIA, NAB to probe PTI funding case

Secondly, she said the federal cabinet has decided that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would investigate the PTI funding case.

“Cabinet has given instructions to the FIA and interior ministry to conduct an independent inquiry and investigation into money laundering, fake accounts and misappropriation of funds,” she added.

The minister said financial institutions such as the FIA and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had begun probing all the individuals comprising senior PTI leadership involved in the prohibited funding.

Parliamentarians from ruling Pakistan Democractic Movement coalition government have filed a reference in the Election Commission of Pakistan for Pakistan Tehrik Insaf chief Imran Khan’s disqualification while PTI parliamentarians called for resignation of the Chief Election Commissioner in a protest outside the ECP office in Islamabad.

PDM MNAs file reference with EC for Imran Khan’s disqualification

In the reference filed with the ECP, Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, member of National Assembly from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, stated that he along with MNAs Agha Hasan Baloch, Saluhudeen Ayubi, Ali Gohar Khan,Syed Rafi Ullah Agha, and Saad Waseem Sheikh had filed a reference before the NA speaker for the disqualification of Imran Khan on the basis of false declaration of statement of assets on July 4.

The reference before the NA speaker had sought Imran Khan’s disqualification on the grounds that the asset statements the former prime minister filed on oath with the ECP in 2018 and 2019 did not mention the gifts worth millions of rupees he purchased from the Tosha Payment on payment of 20 percent of value. The reference also accused the former prime minister of pressuring the Cabinet Division not to reveal details of gifts he had received as head of government following a right to information request. The details of gifts were subsequently released on the orders of the Islamabad High Court.

According to the reference, Imran Khan had filed a false declaration of statement of assets by not declaring the gifts which had rendered him dishonest under the Articles 63(2) and 62 (1)(F) of the Constitution relating to disqualification of parliamentarians. The reference also includes the statements of Imran Khan in which he had admitted that he had also taken gifts from Tosha Khana.

The details of Imran Khan’s assets were also given in the reference. Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha stated in the reference that the NA speaker had asked Imran Khan to reveal the details of assets by July 30 assets but the former prime minister had not responded till August 3. Under the Constitution if the NA speaker does not send a reference for disqualification of a member within 30 days, it would be deemed to be have been sent to the ECP, Ranjha said in the reference. He requested that the ECP take up the reference for Imran Khan’s disqualification as period of 30 days has lapsed.

PTI parliamentarians submit memorandum to ECP

The PTI had given a call for public protests outside ECP offices in the federal and provincial capitals on August 4. Islamabad police had barricaded roads to the ECP building in the red zone. However, PTI parliamentarians succeeded in reaching the ECP building despite the barricades. The PTI parliamentarians carrying placards shouted slogans against Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja. They dispersed after submitting a memorandum to ECP officials that called on the CEC and other EC members to resign from their offices.

In the memorandum, the PTI accused Sikander Sultan Raja of playing an “unconstitutional, undemocratic and biased” role as the CEC. “It is necessary for the sanctity of the constitution and the reputation of democracy that the present members of the ECP should resign and respect the decision of the people of Pakistan and give an opportunity to end the political instability in the country by reconstituting the commission which is impartial and willing to fulfill its constitutional role,” PTI Secretary General Asad Umar said while reading from the protest memorandum.

In the evening, PTI supporters gathered in F9 park to hold a protest against the EC ruling in the party’s prohibited funding case. PTI leaders Murad Saeed, Umar Ayub and others addressed the protesters prior to the live broadcast of speech by Imran Khan.

PTI lawmakers also held separate protests outside ECP offices in Lahore and Karachi to protest against the ECP ruling in the party funding case.

Meanwhile, the PTI withdrew a reference shortly after filing it in the Supreme Judicial Commission against CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja. The reference filed against the Chief Election Commissioner was withdrawn soon after reaching the Registrar’s Office. According to PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary, the reference was withdrawn to include more evidence against the Chief Election Commissioner about how he had changed verdict of the EC ruling in the PTI prohibited funding case.

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