Pakistan’s election commission orders declassification of key documents in Imran Khan’s party’s foreign funding case
Islamabad, Jan 19 (PTI) Pakistan's election commission has ordered the declassification of key documents linked to the foreign funding case against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, a move that could potentially spell more trouble for Prime Minister Imran Khan, a media report said on Wednesday.
According to a damning report released earlier this month by the Election Commission of Pakistan’s Scrutiny Committee, Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had grossly under-reported funds received from foreign nationals, firms and also concealed bank accounts.
The ruling party had under-reported an amount of Rs PKR 312 million over a four-year period, between FY 2009-10 and FY 2012-13, the report said. The year-wise details reveal that an amount in excess of PKR 145 million was under-reported in FY 2012-13 alone, it said.
These documents were part of this Scrutiny Committee report, but were not released along with the report, the Dawn newspaper said.
These documents, which will be made public, will include all the papers sought by the ECP through the state of Pakistan, in its letter dated July 3, 2018, the newspaper report said.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikander Sultan Raja passed the order on Tuesday, when the counsel for the petitioner said that certain critical portions of the report had been kept secret and his client was being denied access to them.
The CEC directed that no part of the report should be kept confidential and the whole report should be provided to the petitioner, the report said.
The ECP had kept the documents away from the public domain after PTI had objected to sharing the documents with Akbar S. Babar, the ruling party’s founding member and the petitioner in this case, it added.
Describing the Scrutiny Committee’s report as ‘dishonest’, Babar’s counsel Syed Ahmad Hassan Shah said meaningful scrutiny was not possible unless critical pieces of evidence were made public, in line with an earlier order of the commission.
The CEC directed PTI counsel Anwar Mansoor to file a written reply by the next date of hearing and adjourned the hearing till February 1, the report said.
Talking to reporters after the hearing, Minister of State for Information Farrukh Habib said that PTI was the only political party that attaches any importance to transparency in the fund-collection process.
He alleged that Babar was on the payroll of opposition PML-N and had been exposed by the findings of the scrutiny committee.
Babar, told reporters that the decision on declassification of documents was historic.
He said the report documents that at least PKR 836,897,508 and USD 1.6 million, collected domestically, have no source and details.
Calling it the tip of the iceberg, he said the list of illegal funding is quite long and includes billions of rupees and millions of dollars, according to the Dawn newspaper’s report.
The Scrutiny Committee report has turned into a political firestorm in Pakistan, with opposition parties launching blistering attacks on Prime Minister Khan and his party.
Claiming that Khan’s calls for transparency remained exposed, Opposition Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Shazia Marri alleged that the “incumbent party was being funded by prohibited sources, and the PTI members were lying to the nation,” the report added.