Foreign funding case: Election Commission of Pakistan accused of hiding bank accounts of Imran Khan's PTI

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Representative Image
Representative Image

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 20 (ANI): Amid the controversy surrounding the foreign funding case in Pakistan, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was accused of helping Prime Minister Imran Khan's party by keeping their original bank accounts hidden from perusal.

The News International reported that the scrutiny of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) financial accounts, which was supposed to conclude on Wednesday, was extended by three hours for Thursday, in order to complete 40 hours of perusal allowed by the ECP on April 14.

The petitioner, Akbar S Babar, a disgruntled member of the PTI, filed another application for perusal of the party's original bank statements in which he alleged that they are being kept secret by the ECP Scrutiny Committee from the perusal process, sources informed.

Requesting for three more days for the process, Babar claimed that only a single original PTI bank statement has been allowed for perusal including the 23 PTI bank statements requisitioned by the State Bank of Pakistan.

The ECP has yet to decide on the application by Babar seeking perusal of the original PTI bank statements.

In 2018, one member of the original Scrutiny Committee had demanded answers from the PTI on millions of dollars received in those accounts. The auditor was later removed from the committee, reported The News International.

Meanwhile, Babar later told media on Wednesday that facts could not be hidden for long, insisting that it was the ECP Scrutiny Committee's mandate to reveal facts.

"Instead it chose to hide facts. If the petitioner can peruse PTI documents in 40 hours, why did it take over three years for the Scrutiny Committee," he said.

He further stressed that Pakistan would have been spared from a leadership in power that was neither competent nor capable of running the state, if the ECP and its committee had played its constitutional role in establishing facts.

Meanwhile, Dawn reported yesterday that more undeclared bank accounts of the Imran Khan-led PTI had surfaced during the second day of the perusal process.

Babar had then questioned the logic of ECP Scrutiny Committee's refusal to allow perusal of original PTI bank statements, saying that those creating hurdles in the transparent probe of PTI accounts should realise that Pakistan's politics could change overnight as it may turn many people into 'approvers'.

Last month, the estranged PTI leader then filed a petition with the ECP against the committee's decision contending that how would the auditors write down such a massive amount of data if the use of laptops was not allowed, reported The Express Tribune.

The foreign funding case against PTI continues to linger before the ECP since November 2014 when it was filed by the party's founding member Akbar S Babar.

Babar alleged serious financial irregularities in the ruling party's accounts including illegal sources of funding, concealment of bank accounts in the country and abroad, money laundering, and using private bank accounts of PTI employees as a front to receive illegal donations from the Middle East.

Earlier, ECP's scrutiny committee had refused to share PTI records by stating "learned counsel for the complainant [Babar] was told that copies of the documents submitted by the respondent [PTI] cannot be provided at this stage as the respondent seriously opposes it," said the scrutiny committee order of December 2, 2019. (ANI)

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