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National

April 17, 2018

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PTI foreign funding: Scrutiny committee initiates proceedings

PTI foreign funding: Scrutiny committee initiates proceedings

ISLAMABAD: The scrutiny committee on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign funding began its work Monday and the petitioner Akbar S Babar’s lawyer presented evidence and briefed the panel on the matter.

PTI representatives requested that the proceedings of the scrutiny committee might be delayed until the time ECP decides on the matters raised in their ‘reply’ with regard to the Terms of Reference (ToRs). However, ECP Law Director General Muhammad Arshad, who heads the scrutiny committee, contended that the ToRs could be objected to but not be replied to.

The committee includes two representatives of the defence establishment. The committee decided to proceed with the scrutiny of PTI foreign funding and let the ECP decide on the PTI demand to pend scrutiny until their objections to the ToRs are addressed.

The petitioner’s lawyer Syed Ahmed Hasan briefed the committee on the grounds the petition had been filed in November 2014 by PTI founding member Akbar S Babar. He shared details about the gross violations of law in accepting funds from illegal and prohibited sources including from the US, Australia, Britain, Norway, Denmark, and the Middle East. Syed Ahmed Hasan elaborated on the illegal registration of PTI in foreign countries as a corporate entity and receiving funds from foreigners and foreign companies.

In particular, he highlighted details of two PTI registered Limited Liability Companies in the US for collection of funds which is illegal under Pakistani laws. Ahmed Hasan listed the details of the bank accounts in which money was received through Hundi. He requested the committee to seek bank statements from the party of all its accounts that have been identified in their audit reports and others that were concealed from the ECP and identified by the petitioner in Pakistan and abroad.

He said by accessing concealed bank statements and those identified in the audit reports, the full scale of illegal PTI funding would be ascertained. The petitioner’s lawyer also provided evidence of all the countries where PTI is illegally registered under Pakistani laws and requested the committee to seek registration documents as well as bank statements.

Later, talking to this correspondent, the petitioner and former PTI central vice president said the test of the ECP scrutiny lies in seeking details of bank statements of accounts concealed from the ECP and those of PTI employees who were used as a front to collect illegal funding from the Middle East and Europe.

He said the evidence already shared with ECP was enough proof of the illegal PTI funding to the tune of over $3 million, which should be confiscated in favour of the state and all those responsible be held accountable under the law.

Babar contended even after three and a half years of delays, the PTI once again tried to delay proceedings of the scrutiny committee. He hoped the committee would conduct a detailed forensic analysis of known and concealed PTI bank accounts to establish the full scale of illegal PTI foreign funding which remains a matter of national security. Now, the committee will meet again on Thursday (April 19) at 3:00pm to proceed further on the matter.

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