Election Commission of Pakistan finds irregular funding in Khan’s party

ISLAMABAD, August 2 The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ruled on Tuesday that the party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan had received millions of dollars in illicit funds from foreign countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, which could lead to the ban of the party and its leader. .

In its ruling, the Electoral College stated, “The office is also mandated to initiate any other procedure in accordance with the law, in light of this order issued by the commission, including referring the case to the federal government.”

According to the order, Khan Khan’s Pakistan Insaf Movement Initiative has received funding from 34 foreign nationals and 351 companies based outside Pakistan, money considered illegal under Pakistani law unless it comes from Pakistanis.

In addition, the commission said the party also kept 13 bank accounts hidden, adding that the statement made by President Khan on the party’s finances between 2008 and 2013 was “completely inaccurate”.

As a result, the three-member assembly headed by Senior Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja issued a notice to PTI asking for a reason not to confiscate their funds.

A spokesman for the movement denied, on Tuesday, that there was any irregularity in the financing of the party, and told the press that these came from Pakistani citizens and not from foreign hands, and therefore the donations were legal.

The case dates back to 2014, when one of the formation’s founding members, Akbar Babar, denounced the PTI movement and decided to leave its ranks after internal disagreements with several of its members.

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Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif was quick to celebrate the verdict on Twitter, saying that the ruling “proves once again that (Khan) is a credible liar. The nation should think about the repercussions of his foreign-funded policy.”

Information Minister Marium Aurangzeb said the federal government will implement the ECP rule in accordance with the law.

Khan publicly accused the election commission chief of being an “ally” of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, although the commission’s spokesperson denied the accusations.

Khan came to power as prime minister after winning the 2018 elections, but was forced to resign last April after losing a no-confidence motion that gave way to the current government.

The former prime minister lost his majority in the House of Representatives when his allies moved to a coalition of opposition parties, and has since accused the United States of supporting them in his overthrow and regime change in Pakistan, allegations Washington has long denied.

Since his ouster, Khan has led a massive campaign against Sharif’s government, calling for elections and blaming the military for being “neutral” and for allowing the PML-N and its allies to form a government.

In this sense, analysts assert that the ruling represents a major setback for Khan and his party at a time when they do not have good relations with the country’s various power groups, which throughout Pakistan’s history have played a proactive political role in the shadows. EFE

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