ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad High Court (IHC) Monday issued notices to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in a petition moved by PTI leader Aamir Kayani, seeking a level playing field amongst all parties in foreign funding case.

A single bench of IHC comprising Chief Justice   Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition filed by PTI leader through his counsels. The bench also directed the respondent to submit its reply in this connection and deferred the hearing till June 9 for further proceedings. The PTI stated in the application that it filed an Intra Court Appeal No 166/2022 on 19.04.2022 , challenging the order dated 01.04.2022 passed by the learned court ,  whereby it was directed that the case of PTI pending with Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) be concluded within one month. It added that a division bench of IHC clubbed the ICA with the main petition and it observed that the restriction on ECP as to conclude the matter within one month is removed. It was further observed that the ECP should ensure that an uneven playing field is not created by treating the political parties differently.

The counsel said that the division bench also observed that the cases of the all the parties should be heard and decided in the same footing without any discrimination. He submitted that the scrutiny of PPP (P) and PMLN commenced on almost simultaneous with that of PTI. However, as per record, PTI was discriminated against where the case of PTI was taken on war footing entering into a complete fishing inquiry by the Scrutiny Committee, going beyond the scope of the complaint filed. He added that on the other hand, the scrutiny of other parties continues but with huge adjournments on the face of documents filed by the said parties.  The counsel contended that   the ECP    is insisting now that case of PTI shall be proceeded with on a day-to-day basis without creating a level playing field as observed by this court.   He also contended that it was further urged before the ECP that they should not proceed in the matter and wait for the judgment of this court, as in the event the ECP comes to an adverse opinion without proceeding in the cases of other parties the same shall cause a damaging perception of PTI which is being perpetuated by the other parties. The PTI lawyer submitted that ECP is an executive body and all action of ECP are subject to judicial review as held in the case of Hanif Abbasi vs Imran Khan.

Therefore, he prayed the court to restrain the ECP to proceed further in the case of PTI till such time the cases of other parties are proceeded with and brought to the same stage.