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On Thursday, The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) conveyed its dissatisfaction over Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan’s reply to a petition seeking his disqualification on charges of collecting party funds from “prohibited” foreign sources.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Justice (retd.) Sardar Muhammad Raza, head of the ECP bench handling the case, suggested that the defendants offer straightforward answers after hearing Khan’s counsel Shahid Gondal’s arguments.

Gondal submitted his objections to the petition submitted by Hashim Ali Bhutta, who the PTI believes is acting on behalf of the ruling PML-N, although Bhutta had filed the plea in a personal capacity.

“The petitioner Hashim Bhutta is the son of former PML-N MNA Naseer Bhutta,” Gondal told the CEC.

Bhutta had attached some documents to his petition which supposedly support his claims that the PTI had received approximately $3 million through various sources in Texas and California.

Read More: ECP rejects disqualification references against Imran Khan & Jehangir Tareen

Under the country’s laws, a political party cannot receive funds from individuals or organizations representing foreign interests. All party chiefs are required to submit a declaration to the ECP in this regard while submitting details of their party assets.

“The petitioner Hashim Bhutta is the son of former PML-N MNA Naseer Bhutta,” Gondal told the CEC.

“He [Bhutta] has filed the petition on the request of PML-N.”

Gondal went on to insist that the petitioner and his family were zealous supporters of the ruling party: “Naseer Bhutta had issued statements in favor of the Sharif family during their Hudaibiya Papers case in the High Court.”

“A direct request in the ECP against the disqualification of Imran Khan cannot be filed,” he argued.

“The Election Commission should hear our objections before moving ahead … You first need to decide whether you can even hold a hearing on this petition or not,” Gondal retorted.

Responding to Imran Khan’s counsel, the CEC suggested that the defendants offer straightforward answers “You are avoiding answering the real question by refusing to address this issue as well.”

Previously, the Supreme Court had listened to the arguments of ECP’s lawyer and had indefinitely postponed an almost identical case against Imran that was filed by Akbar S Babar, an ex-member of PTI

Postponing the hearing till July 12, the CEC expressed his dismay, saying, “We thought we would postpone this hearing indefinitely today.”

Replying to the statement by retired Justice Raza, Gondal shot back, “You should express less anger at us.”

The CEC took stern notice of the comments made by the counsel and added, “You have refrained from answering our questions for two and a half years, and now you are even subverting us.”

Read More: PMLN’S Strategy to get PTI disqualified?

Previously, the Supreme Court had listened to the arguments of ECP’s lawyer and had indefinitely postponed an almost identical case against Imran that was filed by Akbar S Babar, an ex-member of PTI who reportedly holds a grudge against Imran Khan.

Shahid Gondal constructed his argument around the fact that the applications of Akbar S Babar and Hashim Ali Bhutta were of the same nature, therefore, petition of Bhutta against Imran should also be indefinitely postponed.

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