The ruling coalition on Tuesday came out guns blazing after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issued it verdict in the prohibited funding case against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), alleging it had “proven” that party chief Imran Khan was a liar and money launderer.
In a posting on Twitter, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif claimed the ECP decision had proven Khan was a “certified liar” who had violated the Constitution. “The ECP verdict on PTI foreign funding case charge-sheets Imran Niazi for violating the Constitution, submitting false affidavits, and accepting foreign money,” he said, adding that it had been “proven yet again” that the former prime minister was a “certified liar.”
Similarly, PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif—who has been in exile in London since 2019—urged the federal government to take “immediate legal action” against Khan in accordance with the ECP verdict, recalling that the PTI chief had often given “lectures” to his political rivals about honesty. “Today, the ECP’s verdict has shown that it is actually him [Khan] who is the biggest thief in history,” he said.
PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz, meanwhile, posted a series of tweets in which she alleged that the ECP verdict had proven that Khan was a “foreign agent.” Claiming that Khan had been funded to stop the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Pakistan’s progress, she reiterated statements of her father, Nawaz, in saying the PTI chief “used to give sermons on liberating the nation from slavery, [but] in fact, turned out to be a slave of foreign powers. He took money from these foreign powers to create anarchy in Pakistan.”
She continued: “The anti-Nawaz Sharif narrative was based on blatant lies and conspiracies but [Imran Khan] is guilty of startling, mind-boggling wrongdoings the evidence of which is irrefutable.”
Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, meanwhile, said a “thief, liar involved in foreign funding and money laundering” had been caught after eight years of hearings. In a statement, she demanded Khan resign from his position as party chairman and said the government would proceed in accordance with law based on the ECP’s verdict.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is also the incumbent foreign minister, said the ECP’s decision had proven Khan was the “biggest thief” in the country’s history. “Imran Khan’s narrative against corruption has proven to be hollow,” he said in a statement, adding the PTI chairman had been exposed before the entire nation despite numerous efforts to prevent the ECP from investigating his party’s finances.
Describing as “hypocritical” the PTI’s acceptance of funds from foreigners while decrying a “foreign conspiracy” against its government, he said any person who gave a false affidavit to the ECP could not be considered “honest” and “trustworthy.” He also alleged that Khan had ran his electoral campaign against corruption to hide his own corruption, and accused the PTI chief of being a “criminal of the people.”
Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Minister Shazia Marri, also of the PPP, told a press conference alongside party leader Faisal Kurim Kundi that the federal government would initiate legal action in line with the ECP’s findings. She accused Khan of anticipating the ECP’s verdict by blaming other parties for receiving foreign funding. “The PTI must come forward with proof if the PPP or PMLN has received foreign funding,” she said.
Pakistan Democratic Movement head Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who also leads his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, said the PTI should be banned and Imran Khan disqualified. “The ECP decision has proven that Imran Khan has been working against the country’s interests and the PTI working against the country by using funds from foreign sources,” he told a press conference.