- FIA’s inquiry into PTI Punjab’s bank accounts based on bad faith, petition says.
- Probe launched to harass former prime minister, it adds.
- Court urged to stop FIA probe into prohibited funding case.
ISLAMABAD: PTI’s legal team has challenged the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) summons to the party chairman Imran Khan in Lahore High Court (LHC), seeking a clean chit in the case which, it termed was part of the government’s political witch hunt.
Khan in his petition disputed the FIA’s notice for his appearance before the agency on November 7 and made the Ministry of Interior, DG FIA, Deputy Director FIA, and the investigation officer party.
The petition said FIA sent the notice with the intent of political victimisation on October 31.
“The FIA’s inquiry regarding PTI Punjab’s bank account is based on bad faith. The probe was initiated to harass the former prime minister,” the petition said.
The inquiry was aimed at benefitting the political rivals, the petition alleged. “No one has ever objected to the PTI’s opening party bank accounts. And in the ECP’s (Election Commission of Pakistan) ruling there are no instructions for FIA to investigate [PTI’s] bank accounts,” the petition read.
It further said the ECP neither asked Khan for an explanation nor did it demand any details about his bank accounts. “The ECP had only asked Khan to furnish a record of the transaction.”
The petition asserted that the funds from PTI Punjab’s account were spent on party office running costs, adding that raising funds was every political party’s constitutional right.
It said the interior ministry on August 3 had notified that it was considering putting his name in the exit control list (ECL) through a tweet.
“However, FIA’s Deputy Director and the investigation officer went a step ahead of the interior ministry launched an investigation and started sending notices for the PTI chairman’s appearance before the inquiry team,” it said.
Political Parties Order 2002 prescribes a complete procedure for conducting a prohibited funding trial, the petition says and adds that FIA had no jurisdiction to probe into any political party’s prohibited funding.
The PTI urged the court to declare the FIA’s charges against the PTI/leaders in the said case as illegal, order the FIA’s summons to the PTI chairman withdrawn, and direct FIA to freeze its investigation until this petition was adjudicated.
The FIA Karachi chapter has sent notices to the PTI chief at his residences in Islamabad and Lahore, seeking his appearance in the case on October 31.