PTI foreign funding irregularity case irks ECP

Islamabad: The Election Commission of Pakistan today expressed annoyance over Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaf for not submitting details of the account of party funds received from abroad in irregularities of foreign funds case.A four-member bench of ECP headed by Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza was hearing the case. Akbar S. Babar, a founding member and former information secretary of the PTI submitted a petition in ECP, seeking details of account of foreign PTI funds and irregularities in it.During the hearing, PTI’ lawyers did not submit detail of party fund and accounts in the ECP. The hearing was adjourned till December 21.After hearing talking to media persons outside the ECP, Akbar S Babar said that if the PTI chairman believed on accountability, why he did not give detail of party account.He said that Imran Khan has received Rs billions from abroad in name of bringing change in the country, adding that PTI chairman should provide detail of party account in press conference if he did not want to give detail before the ECP’s bench. He should clear himself in the allegations.

Babar said that Imran khan has filed a petition in the Lahore High Court for stay order in the case, adding that he himself hides behind stay order and he levels allegations against others.In previous hearing the petitioner had accused the party of committing financial corruption and violating laws relating to collection of donations and managing them.The bench directed the ECP officials to scrutinise afresh PTI’s annual statement of assets to ascertain whether or not the party had mentioned funds received from the US.The PTI claimed that details of all funds received had been recorded in the annual audit reports submitted to the ECP. But the bench observed that during the scrutiny of audit reports the PTI counsel had failed to show details of foreign funds. The counsel contended that since the ECP had accepted the audit reports it could not question their authenticity.The chief election commissioner said that since the evidence showing that the PTI had received foreign funds from forbidden sources had been produced, the ECP had the right to scrutinise the audit reports submitted by the party.

Justice Raza advised the PTI counsel to be careful in his arguments because the matter was extremely sensitive.Justice retired Fazlur Rehman, member of the commission from Balochistan, read out relevant clauses which bound political parties to submit details of foreign funding.The CEC asked the PTI to submit details about source and amount of foreign funding in view of seriousness of allegations.The petitioner’s lawyer contended that the PTI did not acknowledge receipt of foreign funds and operated a dollar account which was forbidden under the law and the money received could fall in the category of money-laundering.He requested the ECP to make PTI accountable for millions of dollars raised personally by Imran Khan during numerous fund-raising events in the US, Canada and Europe.The petitioner said the PTI had been changing its stance. During the previous hearing it had questioned the authenticity of evidence about over $2 million donations received from the US allegedly from ‘illegal and prohibited’ sources, he said.



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