In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) determined that the PTI received funding from illegal sources.
The ECP ruled that the party had received money from 34 foreigners in violation of the Constitution. Funding for the party came from the US, Australia, and the UAE.
A US business figure donated money to the party, it was added.
It added that “13 unidentified accounts also surfaced during the probe in the PTI funding case,” indicating that the party had accepted funds from a prominent US business figure.
According to the ECP, the PTI submitted a false affidavit regarding the party’s financial statements. Imran Khan, the chairman of the PTI, had provided the ECP with a false F1 form, it continued.
The decision was made by a three-member panel that included Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and ECP members Nisar Ahmed Durrani and Shah Muhammad Jatoi.
According to the decision, “The Commission is satisfied that the respondent party has received contributions and donations from prohibited sources.”
Battle of strength versus truth
After the verdict was announced, the case’s petitioner, PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar, addressed the media and thanked God and his late mother for “victory” in “this battle.”
“We were battling the mountain. We prevailed in this conflict between strength and truth.”
Babar claimed that he did not personally gain anything from the situation; rather, the country as a whole benefited because Pakistani politics required a significant shift to ensure that political parties were subject to legal scrutiny.
He thanked the ECP and said that we, the people, needed to strengthen and have faith in government institutions.
Over the past eight years, we have been put to the test numerous times, but this election commission has accepted all of my arguments.
Reiterating the ECP’s ruling, Babar insisted that several certificates submitted by Imran were “fake” and that the ECP had concurred that the PTI received funding from foreign people and businesses.
He stated that he thought it was “fascism” that Imran Khan “used to threaten PTI, would insult the chief of the election commission, and would attack people personally.”
He asserted that the ECP’s choice was a step toward eradicating the “fascism” of PTI.
‘Not a case of foreign funding’
Farrukh Habib, the leader of the PTI, stated that the party has insisted that “this was not a case about foreign funding, this was a case about prohibited funding.”
The PTI was only given a show cause notice, he continued, and those who pushed the narrative that the case was about “foreign funding” were extremely disappointed.
He concluded, “We will provide a sufficient response to the notice.”
Speaking to the media after Habib, Maleeka Bokhari claimed that media organizations opposed to the PTI and the PDM coalition parties had “lost hope” today.
Although the PTI has been the target of “propaganda” for years, she insisted that it was not the type of party to accept foreign funding.
Bokhari claims that while committees were established in 2018 to look into PTI funding, their findings were never made public because they offered no evidence against the party. She insisted that a constitutional institution was forcing the “biggest democratic party in Pakistan” into a corner.
She demanded that PDM leaders reveal their bank account information, claiming that Benazir Bhutto had claimed that Osama Bin Laden’s funds were used to bring down her government with the PML-N. She also questioned why the JUI-F had received funding from Libya’s Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.
“Everything should have been done legally, but it is sad that these parties can’t constitutionally and legally compete with the PTI,”
Fawad Chaudhry of PTI thanked those who had been fighting the case for the previous eight years.
“Only PTI carries out legitimate public funding drives in Pakistan. No other political party carries this out “said the former minister of information.
He insisted that the case related to funding from 2008 to 2013 and that the PTI had raised roughly Rs. 3-4 billion, the majority of which came from Pakistanis living outside of Pakistan.
He continued, “I don’t understand why PML-N, PPP, and JUI have turned overseas Pakistanis into their enemies when we consider them to be the foundation of our economy. The party will still rely on them for funding.
Donations made by “prohibited sources”
|Funds transferred from UAE-based company (Wootton Cricket Limited)
|Bristol engineering services FZ LLC Dubai
|E planet Trustees
|Funds collected through LLC-5975 donations and contributions and transmitted to PTI
|PTI Canada Corporation #4451121
|Mrs Romita Shetty (Singapore)
|Funds collected through LLC-6160 donations and contributions and transmitted to PTI
|Dunpec Pty Ltd, Australia
|Zain Cotton Ptv Ltd
|M/s Young Sports
|Amount received in 13 accounts (11 unknown, 2 not pertain) as per PTI during 2008-2013
|PTI Canada Corporation #4451121 (Pak rupees)
|PTI UK Reg#07381036
A summary of the ECP order
1) Arif Masood Naqvi, the owner of the Abraaj Group and a business tycoon, operated and owned Wootton Cricket Limited, a company registered in the Cayman Islands, which gave donations to PTI Pakistan with knowledge and intent. The Respondent party willingly accepted US$2,121,500 in prohibited funds.
2) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully accepted donations from Bristol Engineering Services, an organization with its headquarters in the United Arab Emirates, totaling the US $ 49,965 into accounts that are prohibited under Pakistani law.
3) E-Planet Trustees, a Cayman island Pvt registered company to trust with headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, and SS Marketing, Manchester, a UK-based Pvt Company both made donations to PTI Pakistan with knowledge and intent. A total of US $ 101,741 was transferred from both businesses into their accounts in Pakistan, which is against Pakistani law and is subject to prohibition.
4) PTI Pakistan received the US $2,525,500 in donations through PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975. The funds received by PTI Pakistan from both companies are subject to prohibition and are against Pakistani law.
5) PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully accepted donations worth US$ 279,822 and GBP 792,265 through PTI Canada Corporation and PTI UK Public Ltd companies. PTI Canada Corporation also gave PKR 3,581,186 to PTI Pakistan in a similar manner. The donations made by both businesses to PTI Pakistan’s accounts are prohibited and in contravention of Pakistani law.
6) Dunpec Pty Ltd, an Australian business, as well as Pakistani businesses Anwar Brothers, Zain Cotton, and Young Sports donated a total of PKR 689, 750 to PTI Pakistan with knowledge and intent. The funds received by PTI Pakistan from both companies are subject to prohibition and are against Pakistani law.
7) PTI Pakistan received donations from 34 foreign nationals and 351 foreign-based businesses as a result of fundraising campaigns run by PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975. The collection of contributions and donations from foreign individuals and businesses is prohibited and in violation of Pakistani law.
8) PTI A US-based businesswoman of Indian descent named Ms. Romita Shetty has also been discovered to have donated money to Pakistan. The restriction on donations from foreign nationals and the violation of Pakistani Laws apply to Romita Shetty’s donation of US$13,750.
9) PTI acknowledged ownership of only eight (08) accounts through its submission to the commission while declaring 13 accounts to fall under the category of unknown accounts and not be PTI accounts. According to the information obtained from SBP, senior PTI management and leadership at the Central and Provincial levels opened and ran each of the 13 accounts that PTI disowned. In addition, it should be noted that PTI neglected to mention and disclose three accounts that the party’s senior leadership was also using. The PTI leadership made a serious reporting error by failing to disclose and then hiding 16 bank accounts, which is against Article 17(3) of the Pakistani Constitution.
10) On the basis of the financial statements this Commission obtained from SBP and other material on file, the Chairman of PTI submitted Form-I for the financial years 2008-09 to 2012-13 (Five Years), which were found to be grossly inaccurate.
Therefore, the matter is covered by Article 6 (3) of the PPO, 2002, taking into account the information on the record and the discussion above. Therefore, the Commission orders that a notice explaining why the aforementioned prohibited funds cannot be seized may be sent to the Respondent party in accordance with Rule 6 of PPR 2002. The office is also instructed, in light of this Commission order, to begin any additional legal actions.
Following an explosive Financial Times article that exposed the PTI’s funding sources, pressure for the announcement of the verdict in this crucial case increased.
After a record-breaking eight years, the electoral body finally released the judgment on June 21 of this year, making it a unique case in the history of the nation. Akbar S. Babar, a former information secretary and one of the PTI’s founding members, submitted the petition in November 2014.
This case study
The PTI’s challenge of the Election Commission’s jurisdiction, the change of its attorneys nine times, and other stalling strategies were just a few of the factors that tainted the case.
According to Babar, two offshore companies raised about $3 million in illegal foreign funds, which were then allegedly illegally transferred from the Middle East through “Hundi” to the accounts of PTI employees.
Additionally, he claimed that in the yearly audit report provided to the Election Commission, the funds that were previously funnelled from abroad were concealed.
The Election Commission’s cause list includes the case’s scheduled announcement, which has sparked discussion in political circles and among the general public about the PTI and its political prospects.
After the PTI refused to cooperate, the Election Commission at one point sent a letter to the State Bank requesting information about the accounts.
In March 2018, the ECP created a three-person Scrutiny Committee to investigate the issue of foreign funding.
The ECP reserved its decision on four petitions for secrecy submitted by the PTI on October 1 of last year while reviewing the case. The PTI appealed the decision to the Islamabad High Court, and it was decided to hear the foreign funding case on a daily basis in November 2019. The Election Commission rejected the objections raised by the former ruling party to the audit of its accounts through the Scrutiny Committee on October 10, 2019, but the PTI challenged the decision there.