ISLAMABAD: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed all scheduled banks in the country to directly provide complete details of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign funding for the period from 2009 to 2013 to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The details sought under the directives issued to the presidents and chief executive officers of all banks by the SBP include a list of all PTI bank accounts, details of all funds transferred from abroad and monthly bank statements of all PTI accounts in Pakistan and abroad.

The SBP had written a letter to all banks in Pakistan in compliance with an ECP letter dated July 3, 2018 by the commission’s director general (law) in his capacity as head of a scrutiny committee formed to conduct audit of the PTI’s foreign funding.

The ECP had sought information about foreign funding of the PTI from the SBP under Article 220 of the Constitution that bounds executive authorities in the federation and provinces to assist the ECP and the chief election commissioner in the discharge of their functions.

IHC to hear today PTI petition seeking to declare scrutiny of its accounts by ECP committee as null and void

The three-member committee had been formed in April this year with a mandate to complete scrutiny of PTI’s foreign funding in one month.

However, the committee’s mandate had to be extended by two months as the PTI continued to stall repeated demands of the committee to submit 10 financial instruments, including bank statements and details of all bank accounts held by the party in and outside Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a single bench of the Islamabad High Court is set to hear on Wednesday another PTI writ petition seeking to declare scrutiny of its accounts by the ECP committee null and void and without lawful authority.

This is the fourth PTI writ petition seeking suspension of scrutiny of PTI’s foreign funding by the ECP since the foreign funding case was first filed in November 2014.

At the last hearing on July 8, PTI lawyer Babar Awan had requested the court to remove the petitioner and PTI’s founding member Akbar S. Babar from the case since he was allegedly no longer a member of the PTI, despite the ECP verdict of May 8, 2017 declaring him a member of the party.

Syed Ahmad Hassan Shah, the counsel for Mr Babar, is expected to respond to the arguments of the PTI lawyer on Wednesday.

The petitioner and former PTI central vice president Akbar Babar, when contacted, said: “The SBP had asked the scheduled banks to provide the details by July 16, but we have not been officially informed as to how many of them had complied with it.”

He, however, welcomed the SBP letter to all the banks, seeking PTI’s foreign funding details. He said the PTI and its chairman had been hiding from justice and accountability for four years.

He said that he had no doubt that once the details of PTI’s financial transactions were made public, people would be shocked to know the scale and the PTI funding scam. He said the ECP and SBP letters belied the public statements of PTI chairman Imran Khan that his party had submitted a money trail and other banking transactions to the commission.

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2018

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