ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has called into question the authenticity of a report by the Election Commission of Pakistan’s scrutiny committee on foreign funding to the party.

PTI lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan, while giving arguments before a three-member bench of the ECP, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, said the committee’s report shared on Jan 4 was flawed. He also sifted through the list of 45,000 PTI donors based in the US. The list was rejected by the scrutiny committee as unauthentic.

It is worth noting that the original list of PTI donors downloaded from the US Depa­rtment of Justice website includes 349 companies and 88 individuals of foreign origin.

The counsel stated that the petitioner never challenged the documents submitted by the PTI in its defence. The record, however, shows that the petitioner submitted a detailed 100-page perusal report which was annexed to the scrutiny committee’s report. The perusal report prepared by two Chartered Accountants — Arsalan Vardak and Mohammad Sohaib — and submitted on July 13, 2021 to the ECP, was based on the documents submitted by the PTI.

Probe sought into accounts of four PTI employees authorised to receive donations

The perusal report documented illegal PTI funding to the tune of Rs2.2 billion, including concealment of accounts, funding from foreigners and foreign companies.

Anwar Mansoor also claimed that the 11 disowned PTI accounts were not operated by the PTI’s central office.

According to page 92 of the ECP scrutiny committee’s report, the PTI had revealed only two bank accounts each in the annual audit reports for fiscal years 2008-12 and four for the year 2013.

Whereas, the record from the State Bank of Pakistan revealed that the PTI concealed five accounts in year 2008, seven in 2009, 13 in 2010, 14 in 2011, and 14 in 2012-13.

The PTI had also claimed that all those who opened, operated and received donations in these accounts did so without authority “as these individuals were not authorised by competent authority for the opening of these bank accounts” and that the “bank accounts were operated without the knowledge of the PTI finance board”.

The list of individuals who were accused of illegally operating these accounts, according to the PTI written reply before the ECP, included former speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, former KP governor Shah Farman, former Sindh governor Imran Ismail, Mian Mahmud-ur-Rasheed, late Ahsan Rasheed, Samar Ali Khan and Najeeb Haroon.

The PTI counsel also claimed that the scrutiny committee did not include a single chartered accountant whereas it included a senior official of the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues.

The hearing was adjourned until May 17, when the PTI would continue final arguments.

Meanwhile, Akbar S. Babar has also written a letter to Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, demanding immediate probe into the personal accounts of four PTI-paid employees authorised by the party to receive donations from within Pakistan and abroad. The letter, a copy of which has also been sent to the prime minister, demands immediate probe into the matter linked with national security.

The four PTI employees were authorised by the PTI finance board on July 1, 2011 to collect donations in their personal bank accounts on behalf of the party from within Pakistan and abroad. A copy of the PTI Finance Board authorisation resolution has been attached with the letter as evidence.

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022

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