• Disqualification reference to be filed against ex-PM
• PDM wants PTI chairman held, placed on ECL

ISLAMABAD: While announcing that the ruling Pakistan Democratic Movement coalition had decided to submit a reference against the PTI chairman in light of Article 62 (1)(f) of the Constitution, following the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision in the prohibited funding case against the party, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Wednesday demanded that “Imran Khan should be made an example of”.

In its verdict on Tuesday, the election watchdog ruled that PTI had “wilfully” and “knowingly” received prohibited funding from a number of foreign donors. In its order, the commission had also said that it was “constrained to hold that Imran Khan failed to discharge his obligations as mandated under the Pakistani statutes”.

“A reference should be filed against Imran Khan as he is no more Sadiq and Amin (truthful and honest),” the PDM leader said at a press conference after a meeting of the multi-party alliance at the PM House to decide the line of action against Imran Khan.

The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

He also demanded placement of the PTI chairman on the Exit Control List (ECL) as he beseeched “all institutions to save” Pakistan.

Maulana Fazl, who heads his faction of Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan-Fazl (JUI-F), urged authorities to detain the former premier along with PTI office-holders.

“Whether it is Imran Khan or Dr Arif Alvi, [they] should immediately resign from the party because they have proven to be criminals,” he said, adding that “all the political parties had decided to initiate action” against Imran Khan and his party as they were now “proven criminals”.

The JUI-F leader said that for eight years, Imran tried to “run away” from the ECP by levelling accusations against the institution and its chief. “He blackmailed the ECP but the reality is that the commission is an [independent] institution and it can’t falsify the facts,” Maulana Fazl stated.

Mr Khan and his supporters have on multiple occasions cast aspersions on the ECP and Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja, accusing the body and its chief of bias. The ECP, however, denied all accusations.

Editorial: Imran vs the CEC

According to the PDM chief, “The verdict has proved that he [Imran Khan] is an incompetent leader. All these years the PTI submitted false certificates and declarations in the ECP which is a violation of the Constitution.”

“But today, we have reached the stage where it is now clear that he was backed by a foreign agenda and tried to harm Pakistan,” he claimed.

Read: Prohibited funding case — the verdict and after

The verdict, Fazl continued, showed that Imran was a “foreign puppet who was brought into politics as [part of] a foreign agenda”. “He took help from Israel and India […] today all these facts have been unearthed. His fundraisers had links to Israel, India, Denmark, Canada, Finland and many other countries,” the PDM chief alleged.

Speaking about the PDM meeting, Fazl stated that the government and its allies had agreed that the “matter of the state’s security” was the utmost priority and stressed that all the “institutions and powers” should work as one to protect the country.

Such “criminal elements” should be “uprooted from the country’s history and be made an example for the upcoming generations”, he suggested.

On the other hand, PTI central leader Fawad Chaudhry, when asked to comment on the demand for putting PTI chief’s name on the no-fly list, said Imran Khan was not going anywhere.

The government can place Imran’s name on ECL anytime as Mr Khan has no intention of leaving the country. If PDM demands his name on ECL, then they can go ahead and do it,” he told Dawn.

‘Markets happy’

Meanwhile, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal claimed the stocks and foreign exchange markets had responded positively to the ECP decision against the PTI led by Mr Khan.

The stock market showed positive signs soon after the announcement of the verdict and gained around 900 points on Wednesday, while the rupee got strengthened against the dollar by Rs9.59, he said while addressing the press conference.

Ahsan Iqbal said there might be some other factors behind the positive development, but political stability was one of the main reasons which impacted the market positively. He said the people knew very well that the PTI’s only objective was “to create anarchy” in the country.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2022

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