A damaging charge sheet

PTI can’t afford to take it lightly

To keep up the morale of the PTI activists the party leaders are presenting the ECP’s verdict as a defeat of their political opponents and, by implication, the PTI’s victory. Former minister of state Farrukh Habib has claimed that “today’s verdict proved our stance that this is not a case of foreign funding”. Further, the “PTI has merely been issued a notice” and has not been banned, and the show-cause notice “will be responded to adequately”. Former federal minister Fawad Chaudhry has termed the verdict “no big deal”. While Former federal minister Sh Rashid described it as “much ado about nothing.” This despite the fact that the ECP has ruled in a unanimous verdict that the PTI did indeed receive prohibited funding and issued a notice to the party asking why the funds should not be confiscated.

PTI chief Imran Khan has been charged with breaking laws and violating moral standards leading to criminality. As Mr Khan initiated a campaign for donations to fund his first election campaign he failed to ensure that the funds being doled out to him were from legitimate sources. It appears from the ECP’s unanimous judgment that it didn’t matter to the PTI chief if the country’s laws were violated while he collected funds from 34 foreign nationals and 351 foreign-based companies. The party “knowingly and willfully” received funding from Wootton Cricket Limited, operated by business tycoon Arif Naqvi and  several other ineligible foreign firms. Imran Khan, we are told, was a “willing recipient” of prohibited money amounting to $2,121,500.

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Despite his display of religiosity and emphasis on honesty and integrity, the PTI chief appears to have cared little for moral concerns either. He has been charged with continuously concealing the facts over the five years under review. Mr Khan also filed submissions that were .grossly inaccurate. Even during the course of scrutiny and hearing by the ECP, the PTI continued to conceal and withhold full disclosure of the source of its donations.The party only owned to eight accounts before the commission and declared 13 to be unknown, despite the fact that these accounts were being operated by the party’s senior leadership.

If the ECP finds the PTI’s explanations unsatisfactory, it can refer the case to the government for prosecution. One expects the ECP not to take long before it similarly probes into the funding sources of other parties as well with similar eagerness.

Editorial
The Editorial Department of Pakistan Today can be contacted at: [email protected]

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