The Election Commission of Pakistan asked the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Wednesday to submit details of funds received from abroad.
A full ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner retired Justice Sardar Mohammad Raza had taken up a petition filed by Akbar S. Babar, a founding member and former information secretary of the PTI.
The petitioner has accused the party of committing financial corruption and violating laws relating to collection of donations and managing them. The bench directed the ECP officials to scrutinise afresh PTI’s annual statement of assets to ascertain whether or not the party had mentioned funds received from the US. The PTI claimed that details of all funds received had been recorded in the annual audit reports submitted to the ECP. But the bench observed that during the scrutiny of audit reports the PTI counsel had failed to show details of foreign funds. The counsel contended that since the ECP had accepted the audit reports it could not question their authenticity.
The chief election commissioner said that since the evidence showing that the PTI had received foreign funds from forbidden sources had been produced, the ECP had the right to scrutinise the audit reports submitted by the party. Justice Raza advised the PTI counsel to be careful in his arguments because the matter was extremely sensitive. Justice retired Fazlur Rehman, member of the commission from Balochistan, read out relevant clauses which bound political parties to submit details of foreign funding. The CEC asked the PTI to submit details about source and amount of foreign funding in view of seriousness of allegations.
The petitioner’s lawyer contended that the PTI did not acknowledge receipt of foreign funds and operated a dollar account which was forbidden under the law and the money received could fall in the category of money-laundering. He requested the ECP to make PTI accountable for millions of dollars raised personally by Imran Khan during numerous fund-raising events in the US, Canada and Europe. The petitioner said the PTI had been changing its stance. During the previous hearing it had questioned the authenticity of evidence about over $2 million donations received from the US allegedly from ‘illegal and prohibited’ sources, he said. The ECP adjourned the hearing to May 6.