New Delhi: Did Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf receive and under-report foreign donations? Khan is once again facing scrutiny as a ‘damning’ report compiled by the security committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan has alleged so.
According to Dawn, which accessed the report, the ECP has confirmed that the PTI not only received funding from foreign nationals and companies but also underreported its funds and concealed the presence of many bank accounts.
As a response to the ECP’s report, Imran Khan said that he ‘welcomed the scrutiny of ECP regarding PTI’s funding’. In a tweet, he added: “The more our accounts are scrutinised the more factual clarity will emerge for nation to see how PTI is the only political party with proper donor base premised on proper political fundraising.”
He also called the ECP to scrutinise PTI’s rivals Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) too, saying that it shows the nation ‘the difference between proper fundraising and extortion of money from crony capitalists and vested interests in exchange of favours’.
I look forward to seeing similar ECP scrutiny on funding of 2 other major pol parties – PPP & PMLN. This will allow nation to see difference between proper pol fundraising & extortion of money from crony capitalists & vested interests in exchange for favours at nation's expense.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) January 5, 2022
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Information and Broadcasting Minister, Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said the report was ‘wrong’ and reiterated Imran Khan’s demand for an inquiry into the accounts of opposition political parties.
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What the ECP’s report reveals
According to the report, PTI under-reported an amount of PKR 312 million between 2009-10 and 2012-13. In FY 13 alone, Imran’s party under-reported an amount of over PKR 145 million.
Apart from the United States, Khan’s party also received funds from Dubai, the United Kingdom, Europe, Denmark, Japan, Canada and Australia. But the committee was not informed of these transactions.
The ECP scrutiny team report also revealed that the PTI concealed 53 bank accounts, reporting only 12 in the foreign funding case. The report said the State Bank revealed that the PTI has got 65 bank accounts.
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Opposition demands Imran Khan’s resignation
Several PML-N leaders came out to demand Imran Khan’s resignation after the release of the ECP report.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif termed the report a ‘damning indictment’ of Imran Khan. He tweeted that: “PTI has been running away from foreign funding case for last 7 years and now we know why.”
Truth has a strange way of exposing people. The Scrutiny Committee's report is a damning indictment of IK. PTI has been running away from foreign funding case for last 7 years and now we know why. The facade of "Sadiq aur Ameen" has been shredded into pieces.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) January 5, 2022
Senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi demanded the resignation of Imran Khan over ECP’s report. He said that the Supreme Court should take notice of the matter and demanded that Khan should step down from his post.
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‘Pakistan has become poorer but Imran is richer’
Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto said that ‘Pakistan was becoming poor but Imran Khan was getting richer.’
In his tweet, Bhutto said: “ECP report proving PTI foreign funding is a damning inditement (sic) not only of the party’s corruption but exposes their hypocrisy. Simultaneously tax records reveal @ImranKhanPTI income increased more than 50 times since gaining power. Pakistan has become poorer but Imran is richer.”
ECP report proving PTI foreign funding is a damning inditement not only of the party’s corruption but exposes their hypocrisy. Simultaneously tax records reveal @ImranKhanPTI income increased more than 50 times since gaining power. Pakistan has become poorer but Imran is richer.
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) January 5, 2022
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) chief Maulana Fazl Rehman also said that the PTI foreign funding case has ‘exposed the corruption of Imran Khan and his party.’ He also called PTI a “party of thieves”, adding that it had “introduced a culture of hurling abuses in politics.”
After the revelation of ECP’s report, Pakistanis took to social media to criticise Imran Khan and call him a ‘hypocrite’.
Pakistani Journalist Naila Inayat took a jibe over the PM’s statement, tweeting: “When political opponents: ‘Indian, Yahoodi funding.’ When own foreign funding case: ‘Overseas Pakistanis’.” Another twitter user said: “Yes, Overseas Pakistani Ne Ghabrana Nahi Hai.”
When political opponents: "Indian, Yahoodi funding"
When own foreign funding case: "Overseas Pakistanis" https://t.co/G5fIgY4Llq
— Naila Inayat (@nailainayat) January 5, 2022
Yes, Overseas Pakistani Ne Ghabrana Nahi Hai 😂
— SwaRajForIndia (@SwaRajYogiRaj) January 5, 2022
Twitter user Qazi M. Shoaib Amin said, “By the way, Khan Sahib, the world would not have seen such a shameless, lying person like you” while user Salman Arshad said: “Agr aap itne e imandari ke champion bnte hain tu ECP ko krne dete proceedings dodh ka dodh or pani ka pani ho jata.” (If you [Imran Khan] were actually the champion of truth, you should’ve let ECP do the proceedings. Things would be as clear as daylight then.)
ویسے خان صاحب دنیا نے آپ جیسا بے شرم، جھوٹا انسان نہیں دیکھا ھو گا سات سال سے یہ مقدمہ کیوں چل رہا ھے؟ اگر اتنا سادہ معاملہ تھا تو تین سے چار مہینے میں ختم ھو جاتا، اتنا لیٹ کیوں ھوا؟ آپکے وکلاء نے ہائی کورٹ سے بار بار stay کیوں لیا؟ بیغیرت انسان، عوام سب کچھ جان چکی ھے
— Qazi M. Shoaib Amin (@QaziMShoaibAmi1) January 5, 2022
Agr aap itne e imandari ke champion bnte hain tu ECP ko krne dete proceedings dodh ka dodh or pani ka pani ho jata. Jese ap e kehte thay ke agr nawaz league ne kuch nai kiya tu khol de 4 halkay sub samne a jaye ga lekin apni dfa tu ap ne hr forum use kiya procedings ko rokne liye
— Salman Arshad (@SalmanA79199577) January 5, 2022
The scrutiny committee was formed in March 2018 to scrutinise PTI accounts, but it took four years to present its report to the ECP. Committee submitted its report in December 2021.