Tue, 16 Aug 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], August 4 (ANI): Former Pakistan Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Thursday hit back at the verdict of the Election Commission of Pakistan in the PTI foreign funding case and said that taking money from foreign companies was not illegal in 2012.

According to the Dawn, Imran Khan, while virtually addressing his supporters protesting at Islamabad's F-9 park, said, "The law which prohibited taking funds from foreign companies was introduced in 2017...but our case is from 2012."The ECP in the August 2 verdict in PTI's prohibited funding case, declared PTI to be a "foreign-funded party". Imran and his party members had rejected the decision, calling it "illegal and unconstitutional".

During the protest, Khan criticised the verdict of ECP and said that PTI was the only party that raised money through political fundraising, unlike other parties (PML-N and PPP) which he said were run by "mafias".

He said, "Across the world, political parties raise money by hosting dinners," explaining that the donations during those events were later given to the party.

"Ask these two parties why don't they do this. I will tell you [...] because they know no one will give them money...And this is the reason why I kept demanding that all the parties should be investigated together. The nation should know how they raise money," Imran said, alleging that ECP's verdict proved that it couldn't see PTI succeeding, the Dawn quoted Imran Khan as saying.

PTI chief questioned if the money raised overseas by Pakistanis is wrong. He said, "They are calling it foreign funding. Tell me, if this money is foreign funding, then what about the remittances and the money that is sent for earthquakes and floods?""The ECP is almost saying that money sent by overseas Pakistanis will be regarded as foreign funding," he said.

As per media reports, UK newspaper Financial Times revealed how the PTI accrued funds through cricket matches organised under Wootton Cricket Ltd, a company owned by Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi.

As per the report, Naqvi transferred three instalments directly to the PTI in 2013, adding up to a total of USD 2.12 million.

Speaking of Arif Naqvi and the Financial Times report, Imran Khan said that his party had received money in 2012 from two fundraising dinners that Naqvi had organised.

He clarified that the businessman was charged with fraud six years later in 2018 and questioned how he could have known about that in 2012.

"There was nothing wrong with the PTI receiving money from a foreign company of Naqvi in 2012 since it was still allowed at the time," Imran said adding, "it only became illegal later in 2017," the Dawn quoted Imran Khan as saying.

On the call of Imran Khan, PTI protestors today gathered at Islamabad's F-9 park to protest against the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja. They raised slogans against the poll body demanding the resignation of all its officials.

Earlier, in the day, the PTI lawmakers assembled outside the electoral watchdog's office in Islamabad and registered their protest. The submission of memorandum against Raja and his role as the CEC came right after the ECP's August 2 verdict in PTI's prohibited funding case.

Blaming the CEC for being biased, the lawmakers stated "From the investigation to its verdict, the case is surrounded by severe doubts," the memorandum stated, adding that Imran Khan had also, on multiple occasions, expressed his reservations with the ECP and the CEC.

It also alleged that the verdict of the poll body was influenced by the CEC's meeting with the coalition parties last week.

The show cause notice issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on prohibited funding to PTI is likely to put Imran Khan's leadership in danger as the funds received by the PTI Chief from foreign countries including the US, UAE, Australia and UK could lead to several numbers of cases against the party.

The move by ECP came right after it was revealed that the money received from the foreign countries was used by Khan to fund PTI and he made false declarations in 2018 before the elections.

The ECP in its decision issued a show-cause notice to the PTI, as to why the prohibited funds may not be confiscated as confiscation of the prohibited funds is the domain of the ECP.

The foreign funding case is pending since November 14, 2014, and it was filed by PTI founding member Akbar S Babar who had alleged that there are some financial irregularities in the PTI's funding from Pakistan and abroad. (ANI)

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