With the honourable Supreme Court declaring Prime Minister Khan’s plea in the foreign funding case maintainable and serving notice to estranged former party member and the principle applicant, Akbar S. Babar, hopefully this seemingly never-ending case has moved one small step closer to completion. The gentleman in question was expelled from the party before filing the case, yet the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) declared him a party member. And the PM’s lawyer said before a two-member SC bench that while the party had no objection to the ECP’s scrutiny committee, Babar’s name should not be associated with the party anymore.
Clearly there was enough in the initial arguments for the court to declare that “ECP does not have the right to declare Akbar S. Babar a PTI member” and seek a reply from him. But the bigger question is just where this case will go from here. It beggars belief that this case has gone one for the good part of a decade now and both sides are still making the same claims. Surely it does not reflect too well on the relevant legal machinery since it very clearly has a problem with wrapping up proceedings as straightforward as these for such a long time.
Babar seems sure that some if not a lot of the funds that PTI received from foreign donors did not make their way to the party through legitimate processes. PTI, on the other hand, has claimed that it has submitted records of at least 40,000 donors, while other parties that have a problem with it have not done so themselves, so where exactly is the supposedly colossal complexity that keeps the case from making any progress? Analysts on television, from within the legal system as well as outside it, are also quite badly split on the matter. Some close to the ruling party maintain that it has nothing to worry about, even though nobody has yet been able to explain the party’s delaying tactics. And those on the other side of the divide speak of far-reaching implications if the ruling party is found to have crossed an important red line.
Either way, this case is well past its sell-by date. It generated public interest because it was supposed to set very important precedents about the way parties receive their donations from people outside the country and how to investigate the money trail. But now it has degenerated to little more than a bad joke with the public. The people await a conclusion, hopefully they will not need a few more years for it.