PM Imran welcomes ECP scrutiny of PTI's funding, says it will lead to more 'factual clarity' for the nation

Published January 5, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a gathering in this file photo. — Photo via Imran Khan Facebook
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses a gathering in this file photo. — Photo via Imran Khan Facebook

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday welcomed the Election Commission of Pakistan's (ECP) scrutiny of PTI's funding, which he said came through donations from overseas Pakistanis.

"The more our accounts are scrutinised, the more factual clarity will emerge for the nation to see how PTI is the only political party with proper donor base premised on proper political fundraising," he tweeted.

His comments come a day after a damning report compiled by the scrutiny committee of the ECP noted that the ruling party had received funding from foreign nationals and companies, under-reported funds and concealed dozens of its bank accounts.

The report, a copy of which is available with Dawn, also mentioned a refusal by the party to divulge details of large transactions and the panel's helplessness to get details of PTI's foreign accounts and the funds collected abroad.

In another tweet, the premier said he looked forward to seeing similar ECP scrutiny on funding of the other two major political parties, PPP and PML-N.

"This will allow the nation to see the difference between proper political fundraising and extortion of money from crony capitalists and vested interests in exchange for favours at the nation's expense."

'Damning indictment'

Reacting to the scrutiny committee's report, PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif termed it a "damning indictment" of the prime minister.

"PTI has been running away from foreign funding case for last 7 years and now we know why. The facade of 'Sadiq aur Ameen' (honest and righteous) has been shredded into pieces," he tweeted.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also blasted the premier, saying "when the person who accused others of stealing was searched himself, his hair was found to be steeped in thievery."

She alleged that PM Imran "accrued wealth from others in the name of funds, used it for luxury and then lied again and again to hide [his] stealing".

"Has there been a corrupt, false and conspiratorial ruler like Imran Khan in the history of Pakistan?" she asked.

PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the report had "exposed Imran Khan's ugly face tainted with corruption", adding that the premier, who had vowed to tell the truth, had instead "hid PTI's bank accounts from the ECP".

In a statement, he said it was now clear that PM Imran was "imposed on the country only under the guise of a so-called anti-corruption campaign". The premier had made false promises and looted the country instead, he added.

"Today, the devastated economy of the country is a witness to the PTI government ruthlessly plundering the national treasury," the PPP chairperson claimed. The time had come for PM Imran to give an account of his actions, he said.

In a tweet later in the day, Bilawal too termed the report an indictment "not only of the party’s corruption but exposes their hypocrisy".

"Simultaneously tax records reveal Imran Khan's income increased more than 50 times since gaining power. Pakistan has become poorer but Imran is richer," he added.

ECP report

According to the ECP's report, the party under-reported an amount of Rs312 million over a four-year period, between FY2009-10 and FY2012-13. Year-wise details show that an amount of over Rs145m was under-reported in FY2012-13 alone.

"A perusal of the chartered accountant's opinion on the accounts of PTI for this period does not indicate any deviation from the reporting principles and standards," the report pointed out.

It also called into question the certificate signed by PTI chairman Imran, submitted along with the details of PTI's audited accounts.

The report also refers to the controversy over allowing four PTI employees to receive donations in their personal accounts, but says it was out of the scope of its work to probe their accounts.

The report emerged as the ECP resumed hearing of the foreign funding case against PTI on Tuesday after a gap of around nine months.

The case has been pending since Nov 14, 2014. Since then, the ECP and the scrutiny committee have heard the case over 150 times, with PTI seeking adjournment on 54 occasions.

The scrutiny committee was formed in March 2018 to completely scrutinise PTI accounts, but it took almost four years to present its report to the ECP, which was submitted in Dec 2021.

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