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Publicize political parties’ funding sources: Fawad Chaudhry demands ECP

He demands, ECP should scrutinize the accounts of political parties into phases as it could scrutinize the accounts of three major political parties in first phase and make them public.

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Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Sunday said that Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should scrutinize and publicize the funding sources of Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) besides other registered political parties so that the people could compare and evaluate the parties.

Addressing a press conference along with State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib at Governor’s House, he said that ECP’s scrutiny committee had scrutinized the foreign funding source of the PTI but the same committee had not made any significant proceedings in foreign funding case of the PPP and PML-N. He said that the PTI had submitted the record of more than 40,000 donors consisted of about 22 volumes to the ECP so that the party funding sources could be publicized.

The minister said that the PML-N had under-valued its assets as it showed the value of a house in F-7 sector of Islamabad as only 27 million while two transactions of Rs 145 million and Rs 86.7 million were also deposited to the PML-N account in 2013, and the source of such transactions to the PML-N account was also unknown, but the PTI had submitted the record of its each donor, even of that who donate one dollar or 10 dollars to the PTI, he maintained.

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Fawad Chaudhry said that the PML-N had claimed an office, situated in F-8 area, Islamabad but it was yet to be ascertained who was paying funds for running financial matters of the office, adding that the audit of PML-N’s Punjab office was not conducted from 2013 to 2015 while the balance of 17.5 million was available in its account without known source of income, he asserted.

The minister said that Nawaz Sharif had donated 100 million rupees to its party while out of that donated amount, 45 million rupees were returned to Nawaz Sharif so the said method was used for money whitening, adding that a company situated in London, United Kingdom was collecting and arranging funds for the PML-N but still there was no record that of what sources this company was collecting the funds.

Fawad Chaudhry said that there was no PPP’s funding information available from the period 2009 to 2012 so as the PPP had opened a source account and deposited 420 million rupees into it without apprising the ECP about the source of this amount, whereas the PPP had also showed amounts of Rs 3.6 million, 3.5 million and 2.5 million into its audited account from the period 2013 to 2015 without mentioning the source of funding, he maintained. The PPP had claimed that it spent about 230 million during the general elections 2013 but the source was not mentioned, he asserted.

The minister said that PPPP, under the control of then Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani, had also established a company in USA which collected the funds of millions of dollars for the PPPP without known source so there should be accountability for all the political parties. The ECP should scrutinize the accounts of political parties into phases as it could scrutinize the accounts of three major political parties in first phase and make them public and then rest of the others including Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) TLP in second phase, he added.

Regarding the new local government system in Punjab, he congratulated the Punjab government for introducing such an effective new local government system to decentralize the powers at lower level and said that it was first time that mayors’ elections would be held directly in all districts of Punjab and the mayors would have their own empowered cabinet, adding that this new system was aimed to devaluate the power for empowering the local representatives to early redress of peoples’ issues and bring about the change.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan fulfilled its promise of truly empowered local government system, which he made to the people of Pakistan, adding that Chief Minister of Sindh should focus on his governance matters instead of making indecent and rude statements about the federal government.

Read more: Did ECP hide PTI’s foreign bank accounts?

To a question, Fawad Chaudhry said that local government elections could be held through electronic voting machines as Election Commission of Pakistan should tender pertaining to the purchase of such machines for inviting various vendors or companies while the purchase process of such machines could be completed within few months.

To another query, the minister said that persistent decrease in inflation rate has been recorded from last three weeks, adding that the prices of petrol, oil, wheat, lentils and other commodities were lesser in Pakistan as compared to other countries in the region besides the peoples’ purchase power was also increased.

He said that the government has taken responsibility to bear the health related expenditures of people under Sehat Insaf programme, providing a huge relief to the people besides improving the purchase power as now they could utilize such amount for other purposes.

Earlier, addressing the press conference, Fawad Chaudhry said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken notice of a rally for the justified demands in Gwadar, Balochistan as the solution to the issues of Balochistan’s people was among top priorities of Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding that the PTI government was striving right from the first day after coming to the power, to resolve the issues of people of Balochistan.

The previous governments had not paid any attention to the issues including gas, electricity and water besides others of Balochistan but the present government was determined to resolve their issues by ensuring provision of maximum resources to them, he said and added that illegal fishing issue was also under consideration and comprehensive policy be taken in this regard.

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Addressing on the occasion, State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said that financial matters of all the political parties should be surfaced so that the people could analyze and compare them, adding that the ECP’s scrutiny committee had examined the accounts and funding details of the PTI but it could not able to conclude the scrutiny process of the PPP and PML-N. He demanded the ECP to conduct the scrutiny of the PPP and PML-N’s funding accounts under the directions of Supreme Court of Pakistan as the SC had given a verdict to ensure the scrutiny of funding accounts of all registered political parties.

Farrukh Habib said that both PPP and PML-N were trying to hide the facts and account details as once Benazir Bhutto, in her book, had leveled accusation on Nawaz Sharif that he received funding from foreign elements to derail her government so the ECP should complete its task of scrutinizing the accounts.

Courtesy: APP