The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday served two notices on former Prime Minister and leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan in two referrals relating to the banned foreign funding case, in which the ECP had ruled that the party had received foreign funding, according to local media.
In one of the notices, the election watchdog summoned Khan on August 23, Daily Pakistan reported. In addition, the PTI Chairman received another notice from the ECP summoning him on August 18 to hear a reference on his disqualification, at the request of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leadership, Daily Pakistan reported.
A day earlier, the coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a referral to the ECP calling for the disqualification of the former prime minister. Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, a PML-N MP, submitted the reference, Daily Pakistan reported.
The ECP, in the August 2 verdict in the banned PTI funding case, declared that the PTI was a “foreign-funded party”. Imran and his party members had rejected the decision, calling it “illegal and unconstitutional”.
Khan criticized the ECP verdict and said that the PTI was the only party to raise funds through political fundraising, unlike other parties (PML-N and PPP) which he said were run by “mafias”.
The head of the PTI wondered if the money collected abroad by the Pakistanis was fake. He said: “They call it foreign funding. Tell me, if this money is foreign funding, then what about remittances and money sent for earthquakes and floods? »
According to media reports, the British newspaper Financial Times revealed how the PTI had accumulated funds through cricket matches organized by Wootton Cricket Ltd, a company owned by the founder of the Abraaj Group, Arif Naqvi.
According to the report, Naqvi transferred three installments directly to the PTI in 2013, totaling a total of $2.12 million.
Speaking about Arif Naqvi and the Financial Times report, Imran Khan said his party received money in 2012 from two fundraising dinners that Naqvi hosted.
He said the businessman was charged with fraud six years later in 2018 and wondered how he could have known in 2012.
The PTI lawmakers criticized the CEC for being biased and said “From investigation to verdict, the case is shrouded in serious doubts,” the memorandum states, adding that Imran Khan had also, on several occasions , expressed its reservations with the ECP and CEC.
He also alleged that the polling body’s verdict was influenced by the CEC’s meeting with coalition parties last week.
The show cause notice issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on prohibited funding to the PTI is likely to endanger the leadership of Imran Khan, as the funds received by the head of the PTI from foreign countries, including the states United Arab Emirates, Australia and the United Kingdom, could lead to several numbers of cases against the party.
ECP’s decision came just after it was revealed that money received from foreign countries had been used by Khan to fund the PTI and that he had made false claims in 2018 ahead of the election.
In its decision, the ECP issued a show cause notice to the PTI, explaining why prohibited funds cannot be confiscated, as the confiscation of prohibited funds is within the purview of the ECP.
The foreign funding case has been ongoing since November 14, 2014 and it was filed by PTI founding member Akbar S Babar who alleged that there were financial irregularities in PTI funding from Pakistan and from abroad.
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