Friday, March 5, 2021

PDM to protest in front of ECP: What is PTI’s future?

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The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is all set to stage a protest in front of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Islamabad today (Tuesday). Strict security arrangements have been put in place ahead of the PDM’s protest.

The ECP members and staff have been directed to use alternatives routes to reach the office safely. Furthermore, the staff has been advised not to bring their vehicles and motorcycles today, said sources.

As per the decision of the PDM’s steering committee that met on Monday, the leaders of the anti-government alliance will gather at the Kashmir Chowk today from where they will leave for the ECP office on the container at 1 pm today.

On Sunday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad had chaired a meeting to mull over the strategy aimed at dealing with the protest of the PDM outside the ECP office in Islamabad.

According to sources, the PTI-led government had decided to deploy 1,000 security personnel for the protest.

“The red zone would remain a container-free zone and the PDM would not be allowed to setup a stage for their protest,” sources had said adding that it was further suggested that the opposition should not be allowed to bring tents and loudspeakers with them.

The Islamabad traffic police have also issued a traffic plan to facilitates commuters during PDM’s protest in the federal capital.

In a program, Think Tank, prominent analyst Ayaz Amir has said that the PDM is no longer a serious threat to the government. “They [PDM] do not understand a few things. For example, PDM is not focusing on the common Pakistanis’ issues like inflation and sugar crisis,” he said.

Read more: PTI goes to the SC over PML-N foreign funding

Future of PTI

It is worth noting that the Supreme Court has already discussed in detail the question of foreign funding in its 2017 judgment on a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi, who had sought disqualification of Imran Khan.

The SC bench led by the former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar while making a distinction between a ‘foreign aided’ party and ‘prohibited funding’ referred the case on December 16, 2017, to the ECP for a probe.

The judgment had said alleged falsity of the certificates issued by Imran under Article 13(2) of the PPO is the secondary fact, ascertainable by a competent court of law after the ECP gives its findings whether any prohibited funding has been received and collected by the PTI in terms of Article 6(3) of the PPO.

Now the ECP is hearing the matter to determine whether the PTI got funded through prohibited sources. During the hearing on August 1, 2017, former CJP Nisar had observed that the penal consequence of a collection of funds through prohibited sources is confiscation and not disqualification of party’s chief.

Legal experts believe that after Khawaja Muhammad Asif’s case, new jurisprudence has been evolved wherein the courts examine the intention of any lawmaker before giving declaration under Article 62 (1)(f) of Constitution, whose punishment is lifetime disqualification.

The court in Khawaja Asif case laid down an ‘objective criteria’ to test the honesty of lawmakers by declaring that Article 62 (1)(f) cannot be applied to every omission or non-disclosure of assets. “Mere omission to list an asset cannot be labeled as dishonesty unless some wrongdoing is associated with its acquisition or retention which is duly established in judicial proceedings,” said the judgment authored by Justice Faisal Arab.

Read more: PTI’s foreign funds to be audited

He said similar allegations of getting funds through prohibited sources are being faced by other major political parties. Therefore, the ECP must also examine the details of their accounts.

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