• Cabinet orders Interior Ministry, FIA to conduct impartial inquiry
• Ministry given three days to prepare declaration for next cabinet meeting
• PDM moves ECP for Imran Khan’s disqualification

ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday decided to throw the ball ‘to the Supreme Court’ and file a declaration against the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) in light of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) verdict in the prohibited funding case against the party.

The decision was taken by the federal cabinet in its meeting presided over by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.

The cabinet also directed the Interior Ministry and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to immediately conduct an independent and impartial inquiry into the matter in collaboration with the relevant financial and investigative departments under various aspects, including money laundering, fake accounts, misappropriation of funds and above all the utilisation of donations for political purposes.

“The federal cabinet decided to send a declaration against the PTI to the Supreme Court in light of the ECP verdict. The PTI has been declared a foreign-aided party by the ECP in its decision announced after eight years under the Political Parties Order (PPO) 2002 and the Elections Act 2017,” Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said at a post-cabinet meeting press conference here.

The government decided to proceed against the PTI two days after the ECP declared the party had “wilfully” and “knowingly” received prohibited funding, including from foreign donors.

Ms Aurangzeb said the action against PTI would be taken under the PPO 2002 and Elections Act 2017 and the inquiry report made public. Had the ECP decided a prohibited funding case against any other party during the Imran-led government, all members of that party would have landed in jail, she remarked.

She claimed the incumbent government did not believe in political victimisation, but the law would take its course.

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar briefed the cabinet about legal aspects of the ECP verdict. The Law Ministry was given three days to prepare the declaration for its presentation before the cabinet in its next meeting after 10th of Muharram.

Referring to Section 3 of PPO 2002 about political parties receiving funds from foreign governments, political parties or nations, Ms Aurangzeb said the federal government was legally bound to take action against the PTI for “knowingly” and “willfully” receiving prohibited funds from a number of foreign firms and individuals.

She said other aspects of the decision that were very important were related to the “false affidavit” submitted by the PTI chairman and concealment of 16 bank accounts opened in the name of its senior leadership, including Mr Khan, and employees of the party’s secretariat.

Referring to the affidavit that stated no prohibited funds had been received, the minister said according to the PPO, all parties had to submit this document with the commission every year.

“It is for the first time in the history of Pakistan that a party has been declared foreign-aided,” she said, adding party accounts had been used by its leadership for personal purposes.

During the cabinet meeting, prayers were also offered for the military officials who recently embraced martyrdom in a helicopter crash, as well as for those killed in floods.

Meanwhile, a group of PDM lawmakers on Thursday moved the ECP, asking it to disqualify PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan from holding public office for receiving prohibited funding and signing inaccurate certificates with the party’s annual statements of assets.

A petition submitted by MNA Barrister Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha to this effect also carries signatures of lawmakers Agha Hassan Baloch, Salahudeen Ayubi, Ali Gohar Khan, Syed Rafiullah Agha and Saad Waseem Sheikh.

The petition asks the ECP to disqualify Imran Khan under Sections 2 and 3 of Article 63 of the Constitution, read with Article 62(1)(f). Documentary evidence to substantiate the charges has also been annexed with the petition.

Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution reads: “A person shall not be qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of Majlis-i-Shoora (parliament) unless [...] he is sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen, there being no declaration to the contrary by a court of law.”

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2022

Opinion

A crisis of trust?

A crisis of trust?

Most damaging fallout of the constant demonisation of opponents by political leaders is erosion of public trust in politicians.

Editorial

An unseemly dispute
08 Aug, 2022

An unseemly dispute

THERE is clarity, but perhaps not of the kind that Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial hoped to achieve when...
Unfair on taxpayers
Updated 08 Aug, 2022

Unfair on taxpayers

Unfair move has drawn valid criticism as it coincides with drastic increase in income tax on salaried people and corporates.
Polio nightmare
08 Aug, 2022

Polio nightmare

AS if the resurgence of polio in southern KP were not enough, officials and international monitoring bodies must now...
Political stunt
Updated 07 Aug, 2022

Political stunt

The former PM is attempting to make a very expensive point with his decision to contest all 9 NA seats going up for by-election.
Monsoon emergency
07 Aug, 2022

Monsoon emergency

AS another wet weather system has entered Pakistan, and the federal government has declared a “monsoon...
Taliban’s denial
07 Aug, 2022

Taliban’s denial

THE Afghan Taliban’s recent statement denying any knowledge of the now deceased Al Qaeda chief Ayman...