ISLAMABAD: As a bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) took up for hearing the foreign funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday, petitioner Akbar S. Babar submitted to it a document, seeking to put PTI chairman Imran Khan on notice for gross violations of political funding laws as well as all those involved in it should be taken to task under the law.
Speaking at a press conference after the hearing, Mr Babar said after over seven years since the foreign funding case was registered, facts based on documents requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reveal billions of rupees and millions of dollars of illegal PTI funding.
He said these documents revealed that the PTI chairman had consistently submitted false and fake annual certificates from 2009 to 2013 before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). The false certificates concealed billions of rupees and millions of dollars of illegal funding received from foreign companies and foreign citizens, including people from India.
Petitioner claims documents reveal PTI’s ‘illegal’ foreign funding worth billions
The agenda of the hearing was to review the scrutiny committee report and the comments of both the parties on it. However, Anwar Mansoor — the ninth PTI lawyer in the case — insisted that two fresh applications filed by the PTI should be discussed before discussion on the committee report. The complainant’s lawyer, Syed Ahmad Hassan, objected that the hearing was about the committee report and comments of both the parties to the report. He said similar applications have been made in the past seven years and all have been rejected by the ECP as well as high courts.
The CEC allowed the PTI’s lawyer to argue on its fresh applications.
Anwar Mansoor Khan again challenged the petitioner’s locus standi.
The petitioner’s lawyer argued that the ECP should not allow PTI to file frivolous applications that have been decided earlier on more than one occasion. He said the ECP had already stated in its written order that PTI has historically abused the law to delay the case.
Before he could finish his arguments, the ECP adjourned the hearing to March 8. However, the PTI lawyer wanted more time since he is travelling abroad next week. The hearing was adjourned to March 15.
According to the report submitted before the ECP based on documents requisitioned through the SBP, the PTI received prohibited/foreign funding or funding without source and details that includes USD 7,322,678 (over seven million dollars that includes over 2.1 million dollars from one offshore company alone and illegal funding from 349 foreign companies, 88 individuals of foreign origin, including those from India).
The illegal money received in cash or cheques in Rs852,023,076 includes Rs25.61 million collected in cash in the PTI chairman’s office. In addition, in GBP 94,616 and 27,260 euros were received from prohibited/foreign sources.
The facts concealed from the ECP by the PTI included concealment of dozens of bank accounts maintained in Pakistan and abroad, the report said.
Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2022