Without a doubt, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) received funds from foreign corporations, which is against Pakistani law, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) decision on the illegal funding issue. The hypocrisy of a leader who accuses the present administration of being “imported” yet whose own party was founded and is supported by foreign money has been revealed by this case. Former PTI member Akbar S. Babar complained about financial irregularities involving the PTI in a petition to the ECP in 2014. The ECP’s scrutiny committee held 96 court hearings in response to a petition filed by former PTI member Akbar S. Babar in 2014 alleging financial irregularities in the party. The petition revealed that millions of dollars had been transferred to specific PTI bank accounts through two offshore companies and that the PTI had kept these accounts a secret from the ECP.
The process of establishing political parties, their membership fee, contributions and donations, information about the sources of funds, confiscation of prohibited funds, dissolution of a political party, and the effects of the repeal are covered by Article 17 (3) of the Constitution, Articles 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the Political Parties Order 2002, Sections 200, 204, 207, 210, 212, and 2013 of the Election Act 2017, and Rule 160 of the Election Rules 2017. In accordance with the Political Parties Order of 2002, a political party member may contribute voluntarily to the party’s funds in addition to paying the membership fee specified in the party’s charter.
Individual party members are permitted to pay a membership fee and contribute or donate to the political party’s funds under these rules. By the law, “any political party shall account for the source of its money,” states Article 17(3) of the Pakistani Constitution. Akbar S. Babar described the saga of the “foreign money scandal” in an interview with the news outlet Naya Daur, claiming that he and Imran Khan disagreed because of anomalies in party finance. “We decided to order a special audit. I demanded the creation of a committee under Judge (Ret.) Wajihuddin. The committee should next investigate any claims of financial irregularities, and all parties should support its judgment. Additionally, the party chairperson should not have the authority to choose or have no discretion.
Babar informed that Imran Khan had approved the special audit in March 2013 and that its findings supported the PTI foreign funding claim. Babar’s disagreements with the leader of his party stemmed primarily from Imran Khan’s failure to purge the party of individuals involved in financial violations despite having all the information. Babar claimed he was silent between 2011 and 2014 but, after observing a lack of responsibility inside the PTI, decided to petition the ECP in November 2014. In breach of the nation’s political parties law, he petitioned to investigate “severe financial malpractices” in the party’s funding for Pakistan and outside. He also demanded that individuals in charge of these dishonest actions answer for their actions.
The ECP handed Babar a notice on January 14, 2015, requesting that he come before the commission and provide proof to back up his claims. In addition, the ECP asked the PTI to submit information about the monies it had received from abroad on April 1, 2015. The panel also gave ECP representatives instructions to reexamine PTI’s annual declaration of assets to determine whether the party received US funding. The ECP determined in a unanimous decision on August 2, 2022, that the PTI accepted prohibited funds after eight arduous years of investigations and judicial proceedings. As a result, the federal government was ordered to look into the PTI’s case of unlawful funding and report its findings to the ECP. It also sent a notice to the party asking why the monies should not be seized. The electoral watchdog claimed that through two limited liability organizations (LLCs) with headquarters in the UK, Canada, and other nations, the party deliberately collected funds from 351 international corporations and 34 foreign individuals.
The electoral watchdog claimed that the party had only eight accounts before the commission and listed thirteen as yet to be discovered. However, the Bank of Pakistan (SBP) data received proved that senior PTI management and leadership at the central and provincial levels opened and ran each of the 13 accounts that the PTI repudiated. Also, the Form-I that the PTI chairman provided for the five years (from 2008 to 2013) was deemed “grossly erroneous based on the financial accounts obtained by this commission from the SBP and other material available on record.”
The ECP discovered that other foreigners sent money to PTI, including Romita Shetty, an Indian-American investment banker who donated $13,750 from her account in Singapore. Indian-born businesswoman Shetty currently resides in the US. According to the ECP ruling, the PTI got $549,000 from one of its US LLCs, 6160, between May and April 2013. Foreigners and businesses donated $70,960 of this total. Through this LLC, 120 foreign companies donated $54,755 to the PTI, while 21 foreign nationals contributed $16,205. In addition, the PTI received and accepted donations totaling $1,976,500 from another US-based LLC, 5975, with contributions from 13 foreign residents and 231 US-based businesses.
According to the ECP, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Canada Corporation, a business with Canadian roots, deposited sizable sums to several PTI accounts between 2008 and 2013. The PTI also got $2,151,500 from Arif Naqvi’s Wootton Cricket Ltd, a company with offices in the United Arab Emirates, and payments of $49,965 from Bristol Engineering in Dubai and Rs. 504,250 from Dupnec Pty Limited in Australia. Also, the problem garnered a lot of national and international media attention. For example, the Financial Times they were revealed in a startling article from July 2022 how PTI directly benefited from foreign donations.
The founder of the Dubai-based Abraaj Group, Arif Naqvi, planned a weekend-long cricket tournament in the English village of Wootton, Oxfordshire. Each attendee was required to pay between £2,000 and £2,500 at the event. It continued that the funds were intended to support “philanthropic causes.” According to the study, millions of dollars from domestic and foreign investors were transferred to the Wootton Cricket Ltd. account between February 28 and May 30, 2013. The funds were then used to support the PTI. In the meantime, the ECP’s scrutiny committee recognized Wootton Cricket Ltd as a company that was moving money to Pakistan. The ECP stated in its January report that Wootton Cricket had sent $2.12 million to the PTI, but it did not specify where the money came from.
Babar asked in the interview, “How come to an f foreign corporation, and a foreign national may sponsor PTI? A Pakistani Organization or company cannot fund a political party. He further stated that receiving funds from an organization or person based overseas must result in harsh repercussions. The legislation may take the party’s funds and assets it may be dissolved, in which case its members of parliament lose their eligibility for the remainder of the term. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was instructed to launch an investigation into the party leaders to begin criminal proceedings against them for the y laundering and misusing of charitable funds for political purposes. The federal cabinet made the decision shortly after the ECP decision. The FIA is still conducting its investigation.
The ECP sent a letter requesting the PTI’s explanation of why the cash collected from illegal sources should not be seized. Instead, it filed an appeal with the Islamabad High Court, arguing that the ECP had singled out the party in its decision. It said that the Supreme Court had looked into the situation and had sent it back to the ECP so that the financial records of all political parties, including the PTI, could be scrutinized. But, unfortunately, just PTI was the target, it claimed. Nevertheless, the IHC rejected PTI’s petition in February 2023, stating that the ECP’s fact-finding report was accurate and endorsing its choice to provide the party with a show-cause notice. It appears like PTI’s day of judgment is drawing nigh. Imran Khan’s carefully cultivated image of moral superiority and piety is progressively disintegrating as it becomes clear that he purposefully covered up financial wrongdoings inside his party and received donations from foreign businesses and citizens. A lie may spread quickly, but the truth endures. Finally, the truth is being revealed.