Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan Image Credit: IANS

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan, as chairman of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, on Saturday challenged in the Supreme Court of Pakistan a decision by the Islamabad High Court.

The High Court ruling allowed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to hear and decide a petition regarding scrutiny of the foreign accounts of the PTI.

The High Court had in February 2017 reverted the case to the ECP to decide the matter and also declared the petitioner Akbar S. Babar as a member of the party.

The PTI on the other hand claims that Babar quit the party back in 2011 and had nothing to do with its matters.

The party also argues that the ECP didn’t have the jurisdiction to hear the PTI’s foreign funding scrutiny case since Babar was not an affected party, and neither was he a member of the PTI, when he filed the petition for scrutiny of party funds in the ECP in 2014.

The PTI foreign funding case initiated by Babar, a founder member of the PTI, some six years ago has been pending in the courts for a long time.

A brief history of PTI Foreign Funding Case

Akbar S. Babar filed a petition in the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in 2014 requesting the commission to summon record of the foreign funding PTI received to date.

The PTI challenged jurisdiction of the ECP in the Islamabad High Court requesting the court to stop ECP from hearing the case.

In 2017, the IHC reverted the case back to the ECP and directed the commission to review its jurisdiction afresh.

In May 2017, a full bench of the ECP as per the IHC orders, held it had complete jurisdiction over the matter and stated that the PTI had failed to produce any evidence that the petitioner Akbar S Babar had been expelled from the party and lost the right to question the PTI’s accounts.

Next year in March 2018, a scrutiny committee was formed to look into the PTI’s foreign funding accounts to ascertain any wrongdoing.

The PTI, in response to the ECP’s order, sought protection from scrutiny of its foreign funding but the ECP on October 10, 2019 almost one-and-a-half years since the constitution of the committee rejected the PTI’s request for maintaining secrecy of the party’s foreign funding.

Imran Khan’s stance

Imran in his petition has raised objections to the ECP’s jurisdiction and questioned various aspects of the case. To IHC’s declaration that Babar is a part of PTI, he has maintained in the petition that Babar has not been a part of PTI since 2011.

An email in which Babar tendered his resignation is part of the case record.