ISLAMABAD: A scrutiny committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday met to take up hearings of foreign funding cases against the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) but adjourned proceedings without any progress.
Both parties were told that information from banks was awaited henceforth it was not possible to move forward and the committee will meet again after relevant information is received.
The committee had referred PML-N and PPP’s cases to the ECP last month citing non-availability of records from banks saying it was constrained not to give an opinion on the matter as the respondent had not provided any documents such as list of contributors, donors and bank statements.
The commission in two separate orders passed on Sept 24, copies of which are available with Dawn, referred the matter back to the committee with directions to do proceed in accordance with law and after collection of material evidence, submit comprehensive reports to it by Nov 5.
“In case of failure, legal action as required under Article 6 of the Election Commission Order 2002 and section 4 of the Elections Act 2017 read with Article 304 of the Constitution will be taken against the responsible party,” the orders stated.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had filed two separate petitions with the ECP in October 2017 seeking detailed scrutiny of the records on funding of both parties between 2013 and 2015. The PTI accused PML-N and PPP of concealing sources of their funds and companies registered by them in the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively, and sought cancellation of election symbols allocated to them “for their failure to meet legal requirements for eligibility to obtain the symbols.”
PTI alleged that the PML-N runs a private-limited company in the UK, which has not been mentioned in the documents submitted to the ECP.
“This is a foreign incorporated company which is registered under the Registrar of Companies for England and Wales. What is more alarming is that under the Objective Clause, this company has power to carry on any trade or business and to enter into any arrangement with any government or authority.”
The complainant says information regarding the company funds should also be sought by the ECP to scrutinise whether the company is providing or collecting any money, which is prohibited under the PPO.
A copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the PML-N (UK) along with the Memorandum and Articles of Association of PML-N (UK) has been attached with the complaint which alleges that the PML-N had been used for money laundering.
The complaint against PPP alleges that the party has a company registered under US laws namely PPP LLC, which, it claims is “in fact a company created to collect funds for the party.” As per details of the PPP LLC, funds have been collected from foreign nationals and the Pakistani government in large amounts.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2020