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ISLAMABAD: Scrutiny committee hearing foreign funding case decided on Tuesday to issue a decision in its next meeting over the matter involving allegations that ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) took foreign funding in the personal bank accounts of its employees.

The committee has not yet fixed the next date of hearing.

During the case hearing, Akbar Sher Babar, the petitioner against PTI in foreign funding case, and his counsel Shah Khawar referred to media reports suggesting that PTI received foreign funding in the personal bank accounts of its four employees appointed at the PTI Central Secretariat.

The petitioner demanded that the committee issue a decision regarding the matter.

Muhammad Arshad, the head of the committee and DG (Law) at ECP, could not attend the meeting due to his personal engagements.

The petitioner also alleged that the audit into PTI accounts revealed that the ruling party had “six international bank accounts,” the details of which, he said, were undisclosed. The petitioner asked the committee to take up this matter with the diplomatic missions of the countries where these accounts were allegedly operating. The committee decided to also take up this matter in the next meeting.

The PTI has already strongly denied having received foreign funding in the personal bank accounts of its employees.

It merits mentioning here that PTI has submitted the entire record of all the 40,000 overseas donors to the Scrutiny Committee in Foreign Funding case.

The record including the details of donations from overseas Pakistanis including LCC (Life Cycle Costing) account, the names, addresses, computerised national identity card numbers and contact numbers of the overseas donors, the details of related bank transactions, relevant bank statements, and receipts of relevant financial activities were submitted by the PTI to the committee, according to an official of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The official told Business Recorder that the term ‘foreign funding’ should not be mistakenly defined as financial contributions from overseas Pakistanis. “All major political parties have overseas Pakistani supporters and well-wishers who support them through donations and other financial contributions. This is not foreign funding. Foreign funding implies that a political party is receiving financial support from a foreign country or entity to serve its interests in Pakistan,” the source said adding that if a political party justifies that it received donations or contributions from overseas Pakistanis through legal channels then it cannot be proceeded against under any law of Pakistan. Pakistan’s electoral laws allow political parties to receive donations or contributions from individuals but receiving any kind of financial support from foreign governments or entities is prohibited.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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