Within days of the decision of the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding the prohibited funding of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), the federal cabinet decided to go ahead against the PTI under the Political Parties Order of 2002. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has established a five-member team to oversee the probe into the ‘prohibited’ funding case. The FIA notification states that “the probe is being conducted under Section 6 of Political Parties Order, 2002.” The decision aims at getting the PTI leadership disqualified and in this regard the Federal Law Ministry is working on a declaration to be sent to the Supreme Court after Muharram 10. The government takes the cover of the Political Parties Order of 2002 and the Election Act of 2017, saying that it is bound to implement the ECP recommendations under the constitution and law and that since the case was filed and fought by PTI leader Akbar S Babar with the ECP himself, while the government parties had no role in it. Section 204 of the Election Commission Act, 2017 is clear on this issue that if any political party receives funds from any foreign company or individual, it falls under the category of prohibited funding states and the penalty is in the form of the confiscation of the fund.
The Supreme Court is likely to have lengthy proceedings when the funding case hits the court as PTI Chairman Imran. Khan says the money that the ECP has declared as foreign funding was remitted by Pakistanis living abroad, while taking money from foreign companies in 2012 was not a crime. The PTI legal teams have pointed out several glaring contradictions in the ECP decision. Meanwhile, the ECP has summoned Imran Khan in multiple cases. The PTI has to fight the case on several fronts – the Supreme Court, the FIA and the ECP. The PTI’s policy has been two-pronged – it is protesting against the ‘biased’ chief election commissioner and sending a good team of lawyers to fight cases. In this regard, the PTI held protests in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad and has planned several similar rallies in other cities in the coming days. It has also filed a reference against the chief election commissioner with the Supreme Judicial Council. It seems that politics has gone all the way to courts instead of electoral arenas. That is a sad prospect. Politics should be elections and performance in government.