ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Friday once again turned its guns towards the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ahead of the hearing of Toshakhana case against party chief Imran Khan, accusing the commission of having a biased attitude towards the party.

Senior vice-president of the PTI Dr Shireen Mazari in a statement accused the ECP of “constantly targeting PTI chairman Imran Khan despite the fact that he has paid all required taxes and fulfilled all legal requirements in relation to Toshakhana gifts”.

The electoral body, she said, had adopted a “very biased approach” as it did not take notice of the gifts that had been taken by the two Sharifs, Asif Zardari and former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gillani from Toshakhana.

In Aug this year, National Assem­bly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf had sent the reference to the ECP, seeking Imran Khan’s disqualification in the light of the Toshakhana case. The reference contended that Imran Khan did not disclose the details of gifts taken from Tosha­khana and the amount received from the sale of these gifts.

Imran to chair party’s core committee meeting today

The ECP had sought a written reply from Mr Khan by Sept 8. In his reply, Mr Khan had admitted to having sold at least four presents he had received during his tenure as the prime minister of Pakistan.

The former premier, however, maintained that the sale of the gifts that he had procured from the state treasury after paying Rs21.56 million fetched about Rs58 million. One of the gifts included a graff wristwatch, a pair of cuff links, an expensive pen and a ring while the other three gifts included four Rolex watches.

During the last hearing, Barrister Ali Zafar, who is representing the PTI chief, had urged the five-member ECP bench to quash the reference against the former premier, terming it a “misleading” case based on “mala fide intentions and political motives”.

Dr Mazari in her statement said the ECP knew well and had all the documents to show that Imran Khan had paid all required taxes and fulfilled all legal requirements in relation to Toshakhana gifts but they had a “political agenda” to target Imran Khan one way or another, which was “shameful.”

“The ECP with dark clouds threateningly hovering overhead, continues to target Imran Khan and the PTI,” she said, adding that “the Toshakhana engineered case was coming up before this highly biased ECP on Monday.”

PTI Senator Shibli Faraz also through a tweet said that they had submitted all the declarations, taxes paid and all related documents to the ECP and “Insha Allah, our tormentors will bite the dust, yet again.”

Meanwhile, PTI chairman Imran Khan lashed out at the government for allegedly plunging the country into myriad problems, saying the “imported government, brought in through regime change conspiracy,” had wreaked havoc with the economy.

In a statement on Friday, Mr Khan said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank reports testified that the “imported government” had failed to prevent the economy going into tailspin despite inheriting a stabilised economy moving on an upward trajectory.

Mr Khan said this was reflected in the Economic Survey which identified the PTI government’s economic performance as the best in the past 70 years in terms of growth rate, industry, agriculture, employment, construction, exports, remittances and tax collection at an all-time high.

“Now Pakistan faces unprecedented inflation hitting everyone, unemployment, food insecurity and rupee in free fall,” he said and added that “the imported government is completely directionless.”

According to Mr Khan, “the only achievement of this cabal of crooks has been to get another NRO for the billions they looted from Pakistan. The question the whole nation is asking is: Who is responsible for this conspiracy against Pakistan?”

According to a PTI spokesman, Mr Khan has convened a meeting of the party’s core committee on Saturday (today) to discuss the prevailing political situation in the country and to discuss the future strategy.

Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2022

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