Petitioner claims documents provided by SBP reveal PTI concealed billions of rupees and millions of dollars in illegal foreign funding
Petitioner Akbar S. Babar on Tuesday submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) a document demanding that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, and incumbent prime minister, Imran Khan be put on notice for “gross violation” of political funding laws.
Addressing a press conference after a hearing into the ongoing foreign funding case, he said that documents requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had revealed billions of rupees and millions of dollars in illegal PTI funding. Recalling that the case had been pending for seven years, he claimed the documents showed that the PTI chairman had repeatedly submitted falsified declarations before the ECP from 2009 to 2013, adding this had been done to conceal billions of rupees and millions of dollars of illegal funding from foreign companies and foreign citizens, including people from India.
He claimed the case was now approaching its “final stage” and that the prime minister had already lost.
According to the report submitted by Babar to the ECP, the PTI received foreign funding or funding without source of over $7 million, including more than $2.1 million from one offshore company alone and illegal funding from 349 foreign companies and 88 individuals of foreign origin. It alleges that the “illegal money” was received in cash or checks in the form of Rs. 852 million, including Rs. 25.61 million collected in cash in the PTI chairman’s office. It also claims that £94,616 and €27,260 were received from prohibited/foreign sources.
The report claims that the PTI concealed its factual financial position from the ECP by not revealing dozens of bank accounts maintained in Pakistan and abroad. It claims that from 2018-2012, Imran Khan only revealed two accounts of the PTI before the ECP, increasing them to four in 2013. However, it notes, the record from the State Bank of Pakistan reveals that the PTI had seven bank accounts in 2008-09; nine in 2009; 15 in 2010; 14 in 2011; and 18 in 2012-13.
Regretting that the foreign funding case had been pending for so long, Babar added: “The history of PTI delaying tactics is best summed up by the Election Commission of Pakistan in its order of Oct. 10, 2019. The order declares this case being the worst historical example of abuse of the process of law.”
The hearing’s agenda was to review the scrutiny committee report and the responses submitted by the petitioner and the defendant. However, the PTI’s counsel—its ninth in the past seven years—said two fresh applications filed by the PTI should be discussed before the report. The complainant’s lawyer objected to this, maintaining that the agenda should be followed. However, the chief election commissioner allowed the PTI’s lawyer to argue on its fresh applications.
The hearing was then adjourned until March 15.