ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan Monday tendered an unconditional apology to the Election Commission of Pakistan over his remarks against the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of being biased in the foreign funding case.

Khan’s legal counsel Saqlain Haider Awan submitted the unconditional written apology in the foreign funding case filed by former PTI leader Akbar S Babar. The PTI cheif through his counsel also withdrew the revised petition in which he had levelled allegations against the CEC for delaying the case.

On December 16, 2016, the election commission had asked the PTI chief to submit a financial statement of the party accounts, but instead of complying with the directives, Khan filed a revised petition alleging biases of the CEC in the case.

A bench of the election commission headed by Chief Election Commissioner Justice (R) Sardar Muhammad Raza Khan resumed the hearing. Reacting to a statement of Khan that the government had planted its men in the ECP to rig the 2018 election, the Commission said it was a prestigious national institution and was sincerely serving the nation for the constitutional assignment entrusted to it.

“It strives to conduct free, fair and impartial elections and expect the citizens of Pakistan to assist it in fulfilling this national responsibility,” it added. The ECP regretted that such highly irresponsible statements undermined the institution.

In the hearing, PTI’s counsel accused the ECP of having a discriminatory attitude against the party and sought more time from the commission to reply to the allegations leveled at the party.

Chief Election Commissioner Sardar Raza, in his strong remarks, said that the case is pending for two-and-half years and asked whether any kind of game is being played with the commission. He added that the commission has nothing to do with politics: “we curse it”.

Another member Irshad Qaisar remarked that everyone starts to speak in the commission whenever they please. “They themselves are enough to spread prejudice,” he added.

Akbar Babar, who left the party shortly after the 2013 general elections, had moved the election commission about alleged irregularities in the PTI funds received from its workers from foreign countries.

Babar had alleged that in 2012, on the call of the party chief to establish election offices at the district level and all the four provinces, the PTI workers had collected millions of US dollars but they were embezzled. The PTI chief has been denying the charge.

ECP adjourned the hearing of the case till 24th January and ordered PTI’s lawyer to present the relevant record in the next hearing.

Meanwhile, the ECP also disposed off a plea seeking disqualification of Khan as member of the National Assembly on non-persecution basis. During the hearing, PTI chief’s counsel told the ECP that the applicant Hashim Bhutta did not come up to join the hearing in the Commission. He added that the same case was already pending in the Supreme Court.

He pleaded the Commission to reject the reference. The Commission struck down the reference on non-persecution basis.