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Probe All Parties for Foreign Funding: Awan

by Newsweek Pakistan

Courtesy PID

De facto information minister accuses opposition parties of misleading the public over the long-pending case

The Election Commission of Pakistan should investigate all major political parties over alleged foreign funding, instead of singling out the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the core committee of the ruling party, Awan accused opposition parties of waging a media campaign to spread propaganda by exaggerating the case of the PTI’s foreign funding currently pending before the ECP. She said the meeting had decided that the masses should be provided facts to reach their own conclusions.

According to Awan, the PTI had generated the most funds from the public and it was a good thing that the diaspora had willingly donated funds to a party they deemed the ‘savior’ of Pakistan. “If Pakistani companies and diaspora support the party it cannot be called foreign funding,” she claimed.

The de facto information minister, once more, said there were numerous serious allegations against the PTI’s rivals and the ECP should conduct hearings about all of them simultaneously. However, while the petitions against the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Peoples Party were filed just this month—by a member of the PTI—the case against the PTI has been pending for five years and was filed by a dissident from within the party itself. The ECP’s decision to hear the PTI case on an urgent basis from tomorrow (Tuesday) is considered a bid by the outgoing Chief Election Commissioner to resolve the case before he leaves office next month.

Awan on Sunday said the PTI had no objections to the legal process of the ECP, but added that Prime Minister Imran Khan had a new priority to ensure the organization’s independence and strengthen it as an institution. She also hit out at the opposition for utilizing the ECP to seek a resolution to the foreign funding case, while condemning the same institution for alleged rigging in the 2018 general elections.

She also claimed the PTI was the only party that had organized intra-party elections, promoted democratic norms and values, freedom of speech and encouraged grassroots democracy so the common man had a greater role in decision-making. P.M. Khan, she added, has instructed for the immediate re-organization of the party, for which a committee of elders would be formed to forward recommendations that would strengthen the party.

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