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ECP rejects PTI demand in prohibited funding case

ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s demand for cross-examination of key witnesses, the Election Commission of Pakistan ruled on Wednesday that it will go ahead with the show-cause notice in the prohibited funding case.

In the case, earlier referred to as the ‘foreign funding case’, the Election Commission found the Imran Khan-led party to be guilty of receiving prohibited funding and a three-member bench gave a unanimous ruling in this regard on August 2, 2022.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja is heading a three-member bench that resumed the hearing in the case on Wednesday and announced the verdict it had reserved on December 20.

The electoral body announced the judgement on August 2 last year and found financial fraud and illegal funding of over $7 million dollars. It issued a show-cause notice to the PTI as to why legal action should not be taken against the party for financial irregularities.

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The PTI, in response, filed an application for the cross-examination of the key witnesses who include the scrutiny committee members and bank officials.

The ECP bench, however, rejected PTI’s request and also its objections to the show-cause notice issued by the CEC.

On Wednesday, according to local media reports, Sikandar Sultan Raja questioned the progress of the case in the Islamabad High Court. “What was the IHC’s decision?” he asked.

PTI lawyer Nadeem Amjad replied that the IHC had directed the ECP to hear the parties. The CEC remarked that the Commission has not been stopped from taking action. “Now let’s take this case forward,” he said.

He said the PTI sought six weeks for arguments and action was taken on August 23, adding that over six months have passed since. Raja said time was sought to obtain records from abroad.

The PTI’s counsel filed a petition to postpone the hearing of the case for two weeks, which was denied by the CEC.

The hearing was adjourned till March 28.

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