Pakistan

Foreign funding case: ECP reserves verdict in PTI prohibited funding case

Foreign funding case: ECP reserves verdict in PTI prohibited funding case

On Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) reserved its decision in the long-awaited prohibited funding case — often known as the foreign money issue — against the PTI.

The case has been pending since November 14, 2014, when it was brought by party founder Akbar S Babar. Babar, who is no longer involved with the PTI, claimed that the party’s funding from Pakistan and overseas had been tainted by major financial irregularities.

The PTI has denied any wrongdoing and claims that the money comes from legal sources.

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Today’s hearing was presided over by a bench led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja. The case against the PTI was closed, according to CEC Raja, who also stated that the election watchdog sought to close the proceedings against other political parties.

He went on to declare that the ECP wished to restore voter faith and democratically strengthen the country. The commission reserved its decision in the case at the conclusion of the hearing, but CEC Raja stated that the respondents could be summoned again if necessary.

During today’s session, petitioner Babar’s financial expert, Arsalan Wardak, stated that money was received from Britain as a “known truth.” He also stated that no one knew where the money received from Canada came from.

“Funds were received from Wootton Cricket Limited for which the registration number has been provided. Another $49,000 dollars were received from another company in the United Arab Emirates,” he said, adding that the PTI did not deny receiving these funds.

The financial expert also pointed out that several elements on the donor lists were missing. “Thirteen countries contributed to the PTI […] The PTI chairman’s office has no record of the Rs20 million received “he stated

Wardak stated that 41 of the 50 banks did not respond to the scrutiny committee’s inquiry, implying that there could be further accounts. He claimed that the PTI disregarded auditing norms and standards.

He asserted that the donations were from the PTI’s own businesses rather than third-party businesses.

When Babar took the stand, he stated that a political party was revealing information of its funding to the election commission for the first time in the country’s history. “The ECP should hold all political parties accountable,” he stated.

The ECP’s scrutiny committee, which was constituted in March 2018 with the goal of examining the PTI’s foreign funding in one month, finally presented its findings on January 4 this year, after 95 sessions and nearly four years.

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Ahmed Khan is a Senior Editor at Pakistan Lounge and joined in July 2021. Formerly News Editor at a Local News website

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