Imran Khan’s party tried to conceal foreign funding from Election Commission: report

Islamabad, Jan 5: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party grossly under-reported funds received from foreign nationals, firms, and also concealed its bank accounts, a media report said on Wednesday, quoting a damning report compiled by the Election Commission.
The ruling party has under-reported an amount of PKR 312 million over a four-year period, between FY 2009-10 and FY 2012-13.
The year-wise details reveal that an amount in excess of PKR 145 million was under-reported in FY 2012-13 alone, the Dawn newspaper reported.
“A perusal of the chartered accountant’s opinion on the accounts of the party for this period does not indicate any deviation from the reporting principles and standards,” it quoted the report compiled by the Scrutiny Committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as saying.
According to the data provided to the committee by the State Bank of Pakistan, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) had 26 bank accounts.
Between 2008 to 2013, the party had disclosed funds to the tune of PKR 1.33 billion to the ECP, whereas a report by the SBP, the central bank of Pakistan, shows the actual amount to be PKR 1.64 billion, the committee’s report said.
The party also failed to disclose details of three banks in documentation provided to the ECP, it said.
The report stated that around 1,414 companies in Pakistan, 47 foreign companies and 119 potential companies provided funds to Khan’s PTI.
It had also received USD 2.3448 million as funds from the US, but the committee couldn’t access the party’s US bank accounts, the report said.
Of those to have contributed these funds include 4,755 Pakistanis, 41 non-Pakistanis and 230 foreign companies.
Besides the US, Khan’s party also received funds from Dubai, UK, Europe, Denmark, Japan, Canada and Australia, the report said.
A private bank provided details to the SBP regarding USD 2.2 million funds being received by the party from Dubai.
But the committee could not get details into these transactions, the report said.
The committee also sent the party a detailed questionnaire on the funding received from the US and other foreign countries, but received no clear response, it added.
In a post-Cabinet meet on Tuesday, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudry termed the Scrutiny Committee’s report as ‘inaccurate’ and demanded an inquiry into the accounts of Opposition political parties like the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party. “The report [of the ECP scrutiny committee] does not point towards foreign funding […] it has been decided that there is no case of foreign funding,” he said.
According to the Dawn newspaper, the report was tabled as the ECP resumed hearing of the foreign funding case against the ruling party on Tuesday after nine months.
The last hearing took place on April 6, 2021, following which the ECP had directed the dissident founding member of the party, Akbar S. Babar, to employ two auditors for the perusal of the documents submitted by the ruling party.
The case has been pending since November 2014.
Since then, the ECP has heard this case over 150 times, with the ruling party seeking adjournment on 54 occasions.
A request by the ruling party to keep the Scrutiny Committee’s report a secret was turned down by the ECP.
The next hearing in this case will be held on January 18, the report added. (PTI)