The PTI funding case has been playing out in the media and courts for 7 years. The case has been a major cause of contention for Imran Khan’s party who has continuously denied any wrongdoing, and emphasise they have not received any funding from any proscribed sources. The case was opened in November 2014, when Akbar Babar, an ex-PTI member, alleged financial malpractices in the funding of the party from Pakistan and overseas.
PTI’s refusal to cooperate, and foot dragging prompted the ECP to write to the State Bank earlier this year to get the details of the accounts relevant accounts. On June 21, the ECP three-member bench reserved its verdict on the PTI’s foreign funding case citing they want to end pending cases against other political parties as well.
A bombshell report by the Financial Times published on July 29th, 2022, added fuel to the fire. It stated that Arif Naqvi, the founder of Dubai-based Abraaj Group, held a cricket tournament at Wootton Place, where guests were asked to pay between GBP 2,000 to GBP 2,500 each. The money then went to unspecified “philanthropic causes”. However, it was found that the payment was used to fund PTI, and the party was given GBP 2 million by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al-Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family. It further claimed that Abraaj Management Ltd directly transferred USD 1.3 million to a bank account maintained by Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf in Pakistan.
However, the Political Parties Order 2002 disallows any party to receive donations from foreign nationals. In the unanimous decision on Tuesday, ECP declared that PTI has received illegal funds. Previously known as the ‘funding case”, the “prohibited fundraising” the ECP’s verdict has taken the political party, and the public by a storm. The documents requisitioned through the State Bank by ECP reveal that millions of dollars transaction from fourteen different countries was kept hidden from the government.
|1||Funds transferred from UAE-based company (Wootton Cricket Limited)||$2,151,500
|2||Bristol engineering services FZ LLC Dubai||$49,965
|3||E planet Trustees||$100,000
|5||Funds collected through LLC-5975 donations and contributions and transmitted to PTI||$1,976,500
|6||PTI Canada Corporation #4451121||$ 279,822
|7||Ms. Romita Shetty (Singapore)||$13,750
|8||Funds collected through LLC-6160 donations and contributions and transmitted to PTI||USD 549,000
|9||Dunpec Pty Ltd, Australia||PKR 504,250|
|10||Anwar Brothers||PKR 78,000|
|11||Zain Cotton Ptv Ltd||PKR 10,000|
|12||M/s Young Sports||PKR 97,500|
|13||Amount received in 13 accounts (11 unknown, 2 not pertain) as per PTI during 2008-2013||PKR 215,787,718|
|14||PTI Canada Corporation #4451121 (Pak rupees)||PKR 3,581,186|
|15||PTI UK Reg#07381036||£792,265
|Total Amount in PKR||PKR 1,677,209,220
In the written verdict, the ECP noted that PTI “knowingly and willingly” received funding from Wootton Cricket Limited. The commission report also said that the party received donations from a number of other companies based in various parts of the world.
“PTI Pakistan, through fundraising campaigns by PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975, was a recipient of donations from 34 foreign nationals and 351 foreign-based companies. Collection of donations and contributions from foreign nationals and companies are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani laws,”
Soon after the ECP announced its verdict, the PTI leaders held a press conference in which Fawad Chaudhry said: “I don’t understand why the PML-N, the JUI and the PPP have declared overseas Pakistanis the enemy. We consider overseas Pakistanis to be the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and will continue to rely on them for our funding,”.
The ex-minister further said that the people have a right to know from where political parties get their funding, “No party, including the PTI, has the right to hide its funding from the people.”
by Amna Sheikh