Imran Khan party received illegal funds from foreign nationals: Pakistan election watchdog
Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP) (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP via Getty Images)
PAKISTAN’S electoral watchdog on Tuesday (2) issued a showcause notice to ousted prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party for allegedly receiving prohibited funding from 34 foreign nationals.
A three-member bench of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), comprising chief election commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja, Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi announced the unanimous verdict.
The electoral watchdog ruled that PTI received funds from 34 foreign nationals and business tycoon Arif Naqvi.
Interestingly, ECP’s verdict comes after The Financial Times newspaper published the story titled ‘The strange case of the cricket match that helped fund Khan’s political rise’.
The report states that fees were paid to Wootton Cricket Ltd, which, despite the name, was in fact a Cayman Islands-incorporated company owned by Naqvi, the founder of Dubai-based Abraaj Group.
The ECP declared the party had kept 13 accounts secret, which it said was a violation of the Pakistan Constitution.
Article 17 (2) of the Pakistani Constitution states: “…law shall provide that where the Federal Government declares that any political party has been formed or is operating in a manner prejudicial to the sovereignty or integrity of Pakistan, the Federal Government shall, within fifteen days of such declaration, refer the matter to the Supreme Court whose decision on such reference shall be final.”
It issued the show cause notice to Khan’s party to explain why its funds should not be seized.
It was also declared as ‘misdeclaration’ to an affidavit that was filed by Khan.
PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry said that most of the money for the party came from overseas Pakistanis, and ECP’s verdict proves that it was not a case of “foreign funding.”
“I don’t understand why PML-N, JUI and PPP have declared overseas Pakistanis as the enemy. We consider overseas Pakistanis to be the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and we will continue to rely on them for our funding,” he asserted.
The PTI and the ECP have been at loggerheads for some time now. Khan has been accusing chief election commissioner Raja of being biased.
On Monday, Khan announced his party workers would protest outside the ECP office in Islamabad on Thursday (4) to press for Raja’s resignation.