ISLAMABAD: A founding member of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and its former vice president filed a petition with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday, seeking an investigation into “financial malpractices in the party” and accountability of those responsible for it.
The petitioner, Akbar S. Babar, has accused the PTI leadership of disregarding and violating provisions of the Political Parties Order, 2002. He has attached documentary evidence with the petition, including the copy of an audit of the party’s funds and receipts of donations received from abroad.
Talking to reporters, he said the report of the special audit commissioned in March last year at his request had proved beyond doubt that the PTI finances were in shambles.
Giving an example, he said around $200,000 had been sent by PTI members from the US between Feb 2010 and June 2013 for the sole purpose of opening of the party’s district offices, but the funds were not used for that purpose.
He said the report had substantiated fears he had expressed in 2011 that the donations had made their way into bank accounts of PTI leaders.
Akbar S. Babar has accused the PTI leadership of violating provisions of the Political Parties Order
At that time, he said, he had suggested that a ‘forensic audit’ of PTI accounts be conducted and an accountability commission be formed to hold corrupt party leaders accountable.
He claimed that the auditor was denied access to complete information and was not allowed to audit expenses of the party and donations received for last year’s general elections.
“This has created the impression that corruption is being protected and patronised by the top leadership,” Mr Babar alleged.
He said instead of taking action against corrupt office-bearers, Imran Khan had ignored corruption and chose to protect and patronise the corrupt within the party by not taking any action against them.
Had the party chief acted on corruption complaints earlier, corruption would not have been committed during the intra-party elections and the allocation of party tickets for the elections, he added.
Akbar Babar said the PTI was formed to cleanse the decaying political system and set new traditions of transparency and accountability.
Instead, it is heading into the direction of being transformed into a conventional party.
“The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf can come up to the expectations of people only if it practises what it preaches. Workers who have stood by the party for years for the cause of change are increasingly becoming disappointed because there is no justice, accountability and merit in the party”.
He said the struggle to internally reform PTI would continue and no legal forum would be spared, including the Supreme Court, to cleanse the party of corruption and the corrupt.
PTI REACTION: Dr Arif Alvi, a PTI leader, termed the allegations levelled in the petition baseless and said the audit report had not exposed any misappropriation of funds.
He said the PTI was the only party which believed in self-accountability and had formed committees to investigate allegations of irregularities in the intra-party elections and award of party tickets.
He said the PTI carefully maintained its accounts.
Published in Dawn, November 15th , 2014