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Saturday, April 13, 2024

ECP rules PTI received prohibited funds

ECP said PTI received prohibited funding and PTI did not provide details of 13 accounts. 

After almost eight years, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced today that PTI did indeed receive prohibited funding.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja, comprising Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi presided over the hearing.

Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja said that the party received funds from 34 unknown sources and hid 13 accounts from the electoral body. The ECP has also decided to issue a show-cause notice to the PTI to explain why the commission should not seize the funds it received. The commission also said that PTI chief Imran Khan had submitted a “misdeclaration” with the commission.

The verdict, which was reserved on June 21, comes days after the ruling alliance, comprising members of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, PPP, and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, urged ECP to release the verdict in the case.

The demand for an announcement of the verdict in this important case increased following an explosive story by the Financial Times, revealing the sources of funding of the PTI.

Read more: PM Shehbaz Sharif urges ECP to announce veridict on PTI’s funding case

Reacting to the development, PTI has claimed that it will respond to the show-cause notice and will provide details of the remaining accounts which are also legal. Moreover, PTI has also demanded that funding of other political parties should also be revealed.

PTI prohibited funding case

The case began in 2014 when the party’s founding member, Akbar S Babar, filed it alleging financial irregularities in PTI’s foreign funding and that it received funds from prohibited sources. The PTI, however, rejected the charges as baseless and unfounded.

In March 2018, the scrutiny committee was formed to audit foreign funding received by the PTI. On January 4, an ECP scrutiny committee report probing the party’s funds revealed that the ruling PTI party had received Rs1.64 billion in funding. According to the report, PTI hid funds worth Rs310 million from the ECP. Meanwhile, PTI maintains that it has provided records of all its financial transactions.

Read more: Fawad Chaudhry schools media on PTI foreign funding case

In June 2022, CEC Raja had directed the ECP staff to list the foreign funding case against the PTI as “prohibited funding” after accepting the party’s stance on the matter. To clarify, PTI’s counsel said the Elections Act, 2017, allows receiving funds from overseas Pakistanis but prohibits procuring funds from anyone else other than them.