Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb on Thursday said the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been tasked with conducting a complete inquiry into the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s prohibited funding case in light of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s ruling.
Addressing a post-cabinet press conference, she said the inquiry would commence immediately and would target “all those involved in this crime.” Stressing that the probe would be conducted in line with the ECP’s verdict, she should it would determine where the funds the PTI received from various individuals and companies were used. “All of them would have been in jail [already] if the verdict had come during Imran Khan’s tenure,” she claimed.
Clarifying that the ruling coalition had nothing to do with the “foreign funding” case, the minister emphasized that the petition had been filed and pursued by Akbar S. Babar, a founding member of the PTI. “The PTI has been declared a foreign-aided party by the ECP in its decision, which was issued after eight years under the Political Parties Order, 2002 and the Election Act, 2017,” she said. “It has been eight years and the PTI still hasn’t provided any answers. The State Bank of Pakistan showed records in the ECP, which showed that the PTI had postponed the hearing 75 times during these years,” she said, noting the foreign funds cited by the ruling were sufficient to declare the PTI a “foreign-funded party.”
As part of the government’s response to the ECP ruling, said Aurangzeb, it had been decided to file a declaration against the PTI before the Supreme Court to get the party dissolved as a “foreign-aided” party. “The PTI failed to declare 16 accounts. The accounts were opened in the names of party leaders where they used to receive money,” she said.
The ECP, earlier this week, issued its verdict on the PTI’s prohibited funding case, finding that it had received funds from several foreign nationals and various companies in violation of law. The PTI has responded by claiming several of the individuals designated “foreigners” are actually overseas Pakistanis and are eligible to donate to the party. PTI Chairman Imran Khan has also suggested that the Political Parties Order, 2002 permitted the receipt of funds from companies, which is contrary to the law—“Any contribution made, directly or indirectly, by any foreign government, multi-national or domestically incorporated public or private company, firm, trade or professional association shall be prohibited and the parties may accept contributions and donations only from individuals.”
During her press conference, the minister also apprised media on the relief measures being carried out for flood victims of Balochistan. “P.M. Shehbaz has directed to give Rs. 1 million as compensation to the families that lost their loved ones and Rs. 500,00 to those whose houses were destroyed,” she said, adding that instructions had also been issued to the administration for the immediate rehabilitation of the victims.