August 3, 2022
By Rehan Piracha
The ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) coalition has decided to file a reference in the Supreme Court for the dissolution of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) following the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ruling in the party’s prohibited funding case. However PTI said a ban on party chief Imran Khan and his party was beyond the coalition’s control.
On August 3, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired the meeting of the leaders of PDM in Islamabad.
According to media reports, the ruling coalition leaders decided that the federal government should initiate a reference for PTI’s dissolution in the Supreme Court following the ECP findings that the party had received prohibited funding from foreign nationals and companies.
Federal cabinet to approve reference against PTI
The federal cabinet is to accord approval of filing a reference before a full court bench of the Supreme Court in its meeting on August 4, media sources said. The cabinet is also to initiate separate proceedings related to benami accounts of PTI leaders mentioned in the ruling.
“The PDM coalition leaders have decided to proceed against PTI chief Imran Khan under the law and the Constitution,” Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of Jamiat Ulema Islam, told reporters at a news conference on conclusion of the PDM leaders meeting in Islamabad. He said the ECP ruling had proved that the PTI had received prohibited funding from foreign individuals and companies based in India, Israel, United States, Canada, Australia and Denmark. He accused Imran Khan of being a foreign agent of these countries which were against Pakistan’s Islamic state.
“The PDM leaders have advised the government to act swiftly against the PTI leaders and office-bearers in the foreign funding case,” he said. The JUI chief called on President Arif Alvi to quit his party and state office as he was also among PTI leaders involved in the foreign funding.
Imran Khan and PTI can’t be banned, warns Fawad Ch
Earlier in the day, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary said Imran Khan had a huge public following and no one should dare sideline him from mainstream politics.
The former information minister claimed that the ECP did not seek an explanation from the PTI about the individuals funding the party and declared them to be “non-Pakistanis and foreigners” without conducting a fact-check. He said overseas Pakistanis were now sending more donations to the party after being outraged by the ECP’s verdict.
Fawad Chaudhary pointed out that Article 15 of the Elections Act outlined the process for dissolving a political party but the ECP had no authority to take such a step. He said the party would demand that the ruling coalition seek a vote of confidence from parliament, adding it was deliberating upon a date for it.
The PTI chief has also announced that party workers should hold peaceful protest outside the ECP office in Islamabad on August 4 to express their no-confidence in the Chief Election Commissioner and protest the ECP ruling in the prohibited funding case against the party.
Funding case verdict not given in haste: ECP
Meanwhile, the ECP clarified that the verdict in the prohibited funding case was not given in haste. “Like always certain people are conducting a false and misleading propaganda that the ECP gave two verdicts in the prohibited funding case in hast,” the ECP spokesperson said.
“It’s surprising that certain people are finding haste in a verdict that came after eight years,” the ECP spokesperson added.
“The propaganda has no relation to reality. The ECP gave a single verdict which has every page signed and is available on the official website,” the spokesperson concluded.