ISLAMABAD: Manipulated or not, the 2018 general elections turned out to be a moneymaking venture for almost all mainstream political parties, enabling them to generate funds far more than they spent on election campaigning, leaving not only a huge surplus in their kitty but also some unanswered questions.
The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) took the lead both in making a quick buck and extravagant spending, an analysis of the consolidated statements of accounts submitted by political parties with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) shows.
The PTI was able to generate funds to the tune of around Rs600 million, and spent Rs360m out of them in the election year. The amount spent by the PTI was more than the income of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPP) for the period put together, and almost six times more than their collective spending.
The PTI received Rs334m as general election fee and raised Rs193m local donations and contributions. In addition, an amount of Rs65.81m had been collected from overseas Pakistanis in the form of donations, contributions and membership fee, with the major chunk of Rs49.26m coming from the United Kingdom, followed by Rs12.6m from the United States, Rs2.92m from Australia and Rs500,000 each from Canada and Norway.
Political parties file consolidated statements of accounts with ECP
An audit of the PTI’s audited statement of accounts found a difference of Rs93.79m between the declared expenses and the break-up of expenditure. Though the party has put its total expenses over the year in the column of total payments for the year slightly over Rs360m, the break-up of spending under different heads when put together comes to over Rs453m, causing one to wonder which of the figures is correct.
The party’s public event expenses alone were over Rs300m while it paid Rs58.18m in salaries, Rs25.85m as legal and professional charges and Rs23.39m as office rent. It made payments between Rs2.70m and Rs9.78m under nine different heads as well.
The PTI also made a ‘short-term investment’ of Rs25m. Details of the investment have not been provided. The PTI’s opening balance was Rs69.81m while the closing balance was over Rs262m.
The net value of the PTI’s assets registered more than three-fold increase jumping from a little less than Rs100m in 2017 to over Rs316m in 2018, but its liabilities also increased from Rs10.43m to Rs92.95m to see almost nine-fold increase in a single year.
The PML-N’s total income in year 2018 was over Rs125m, with party ticket application fee of Rs119m forming a major component. The PML-N had earned Rs10.85m from party tickets in year 2017 as well. It, however, did not receive even a single penny in donation from the party workers, who gave it Rs9.28m in 2017. The party’s profit from the bank dropped from Rs7.56m in 2017 to Rs5.82m in 2018.
The PML-N incurred an expenditure of Rs48.23m in 2018, Rs36.93m out of which was election expenses. The party spent Rs62.66m on printing and stationery over and above the election expenses. It paid Rs6.26m in salaries and Rs2.20m as legal and professional charges.
The party saved Rs77.60m out of which an amount of Rs46.33m was transferred to the Punjab PML-N. An amount of Rs80m had also been transferred to the Punjab PML-N in 2017.
The party’s current assets grew to Rs253m in 2018 from Rs222m in 2017. The party also has non-current assets valued at Rs52.78m, bringing the worth of net assets at Rs306m.
The assets include a house in F-7/3, Islamabad, valued at Rs23.20m. The PML-N claims the house belongs to it along with furniture and equipment, but it has been in the possession of PML-Q since November 2000.
The Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPP-P) headed by former president Asif Ali Zadari earned over Rs100m in 2018, with an income of Rs93.72m collected as ticket fee alone. It also received donations to the tune of Rs5m over the period. Unlike the PML-N, the party’s bank profit increased from Rs1.73m in 2017 to Rs2.24m in 2018.
The party incurred expenses of Rs13.16m in 2018, which included payments of Rs4.43m it made on behalf of the PPP-P and Rs4.25m paid in salaries. Though no specific election-related expenses have been mentioned, it spent an amount of Rs1.32m on advertisement and publicity.
Interestingly, the PPP-P spent less in the election year as compared to its expenditure of Rs15.34m in year 2017, which again included payments of Rs9.53m made on behalf of the PPP-P. Interestingly, the party’s income in 2017 was just a little over Rs2m, thus bringing the deficit in receipts against payments to Rs13.25m — more than it spent in 2018. The party had an opening balance of Rs79.20m and a closing balance of Rs167m.
The Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) led by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had a balance of Rs158m in a dozen bank accounts at the close of the financial year 2017, which dropped to Rs143m in 2018. The party’s income in 2018 remained a little over Rs5m in 2018 — a major component of which was bank profit of Rs3.78m.
The PML-Q’s total earnings were Rs9.38m out of which it spent Rs9.31m. It earned over Rs2m as ticket fee. The party has not mentioned any election related expense.
The Awami Muslim League headed by federal minister for railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad appears to be the poorest of the parties having representation in parliament. The party’s total receipts during 2018 remained Rs115,000 out of which it spent Rs20,000 — half of which was paid as audit fee and the rest was spent on printing and stationery and entertainment.
The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl earned Rs350,150 but spent over Rs2.87m. It spent Rs0.966m on three day general council, Rs0.706m on staff salaries and Rs0.665m on entertainment. The party still has an amount of Rs25.75m cash at hand and in bank.
The Jamaat-i-Islami earned Rs171m in 2018 and spent Rs67m.
The Awami National Party earned Rs55.64m during year 2018 and incurred expenses of Rs27.86m.
The total receipts of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for the year were Rs17.50m out of which it incurred expenditure of Rs16.65m. The party’s closing balance was Rs10.37m. A break-up faction of the party, Pak Sarzameen Party, though could not win a single seat, yet generated funds to the tune of over Rs20m — more than the MQM. It spent over Rs10m out of them.
The PML-F earned Rs3.9m and spent Rs3.4m. It earned Rs65,843 from a general council meeting which cost the party Rs1.45m.
The National Party’s income and expenses were Rs1.8m and Rs1.3m, respectively.
The Tehreek-i-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) led by Khadim Rizvi generated funds of over Rs5m and spent Rs4.86m out of them. It spent Rs1.2m on advertisements.
Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2019