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PTI says funds can be received from foreign firms, except MNCs

The News International logo The News International 18/05/2022 The News International

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s counsel contended before the Election Commission of Pakistan’s bench on Tuesday that political parties could receive donations from foreign companies, but these should not be multinational ones, while the petitioner’s lawyer said the law did not allow funding from firms or foreigners.

He observed this as the Election Commission’s three-member bench resumed hearing of the PTI foreign funding case here. PTI lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan resumed final arguments from the last hearing held on May 13. He spoke at length on the donations received from foreign companies based in different parts of the world and argued that political parties could receive donations from foreign companies as long as the companies were not multinationals.

KARACHI,PAKISTAN - APRIL 26: Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stage protest outside Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Karachi, Pakistan on April 26, 2022 accusing the Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja "bias" to his party. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) © 2022 Anadolu Agency KARACHI,PAKISTAN - APRIL 26: Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) stage protest outside Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) office in Karachi, Pakistan on April 26, 2022 accusing the Chief Election Commissioner Sikander Sultan Raja "bias" to his party. (Photo by Sabir Mazhar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

However, in a sharp contrast to it, the Political Parties Order 2002 subsection (3) clearly states that “the parties may accept contributions and donations only from individuals and that section 2 subsection iii bars receipt of any funds or any portion of its funds from foreign nationals”. The foreign companies admitted by PTI’s counsel during hearing on Tuesday that have donated to the PTI were concealed by the PTI in its record submitted to the ECP, and the companies were identified from the record requisitioned through the State Bank of Pakistan.

The PTI counsel claimed that the record submitted by the party before the Scrutiny Committee was notarised and certified. However, the Scrutiny Committee claimed that no certified records were submitted. Likewise, the 100-page Perusal Report of two auditors of the petitioner also confirms that the PTI documents shared with it for perusal were uncertified and unverified.

The PTI lawyer then read out the undated affidavit by Arif Naqvi of the defunct Abraaj group certifying that Wootton Cricket Club, an offshore company registered in Cayman Islands belonged to him and that he donated $2.1 million to the PTI from the accounts of the company. At this, the petitioner’s lawyer Badar Iqbal Chaudhry asked the ECP if the affidavit was certified or verified. The PTI counsel admitted it was not an affidavit but merely a statement and that he would try to obtain a certified copy of the statement.

The PTI counsel went through another affidavit from a Dubai- based LLC Bristol Engineering Company that had donated $50,000 to the PTI. Similarly, he read out several other foreign companies from Europe and other parts of the world that had made foreign currency donations to the PTI and he admitted that party PTI had not submitted details of funding received in the fiscal year 2013 although they were in possession of such details.

However, the Scrutiny Committee in its report shows that it had repeatedly requested the PTI to submit details of funding for the year 2013, but the party had refused to do so. The PTI counsel also admitted that details of funds received from the PTI registered trusts or companies from Australia and Canada cannot be submitted before the ECP as the local laws prohibited this.

PTI counsel Anwar Mansoor noted the Scrutiny Committee had rejected their verified record and it had shown the audit report of a chartered accountant firm as forensic report. He explained that all the money sent from abroad was only from Pakistanis.

The counsel also explained the difference between a multinational company and a single-owner firm. He rejected the scrutiny committee’s objection to the money sent from Dubai and said that it belonged to a single owner but was not a multinational company, contending the statement provided by the owner should be construed as an affidavit and it is included in the document.

He also said one Abdul Hameed was taking responsibility for the money sent to the party, which was transferred legally. At one point, he claimed the Scrutiny Committee had made so many mistakes but he would not waste the bench’s time by explaining them.

The counsel rejected what he called the allegation by the committee that PTI had not provided all the related details.

Mentioning a firm, he said that the E-Planet was a trustee and it could not be called a company and its trustees had sent money. He said all the details had been provided with reconciliation and on page 91 details of amounts sent from Dubai, Norway, Australia and Canada were presented and all these amounts were sent through a forex company and these were sent by the Pakistanis.

The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday when the PTI’s chartered accountant would explain funds received from different countries and try to reconcile the same with the PTI bank accounts.

Later, talking to reporters outside the ECP Secretariat, the petitioner and PTI founding member Akbar S Babar pointed out that first the PTI admitted that for any funds received from prohibited sources from the US, the responsibility rested with its agent namely Dr Nasrullah, and now the PTI is admitting receipt of funds from foreign companies, which is a gross violation of the Political Parties Order 2002 that allows funding only from individuals.

Babar lamented that Pakistan’s economic crisis stems from the unending political crisis, and when Imran Khan demands the resignation of the CEC, someone he himself nominated, as he fears the outcome of the foreign funding case, he is acting as a fascist.

He contended the first and foremost responsibility of constitutional bodies is to stem the rot towards complete fascism, as the more they try to appease him, the worse it will get. He warned that if Imran Khan’s demand to hold immediate fresh elections is accepted, then his next demand would be an ECP of his choice, followed by electoral results of his liking.

“If the election results are not up to his expectations, he would again be on the roads agitating. The anarchist politics must be crushed with the full force of law as it directly feeds into Pakistan’s drift toward complete economic collapse,” he remarked.

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