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ISLAMABAD: Faced with enormous criticism from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and public circles over alleged discrepancies in Prohibited Funding Case verdict, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has termed it “misleading and false propaganda” that it issued “two decisions in this case in haste,” saying the commission issued one verdict that is publicly available.

“Like always, misleading and false propaganda has been unleashed by some individuals – that the ECP issued two verdicts in Prohibited Funding Case in haste,” the electoral body said in a statement on Wednesday.

“It is surprising that some elements are looking for the element of haste in a decision that has been issued after eight years,” the statement added.

This propaganda, the electoral body said, is far from reality and the decision the ECP issued has been signed page-by- page, and available on the ECP website.

On Tuesday, hours after the ECP issued its verdict in Prohibited Funding Case, reports surfaced suggesting that the electoral body sent an unsigned draft of this case’s verdict to some sections of the media and that it was found to be different that the signed verdict issued later—an allegation the ECP vehemently denies.

Apparently, the ECP’s statement comes against the backdrop of scores of overseas Pakistanis having appeared on electronic and social media to lambast the electoral body for naming them as foreign donors who sent illegal donations to PTI—in Prohibited Funding Case verdict.

President Sargodha Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chaudhry Shoaib Ahmed Basra told the media on Tuesday that his factory named National Fruit Processing Factory was located in village (Chak number 10) in Bhalwal, Sargodha but it was mentioned in the ECP’s list of foreign donors from Canada. Basra said he donated 10,500 rupees to PTI in November 2011.

“I was shocked to see that my factory, that has been located in a village of Sargodha, has been listed by ECP as a Canada-based company. I was more shocked to see that ECP did not bother to verify even the basic facts about me. My family and I—all of us are Pakistani nationals and we don’t have any iqama or work permit of any other country, either,” he added.

Basra urged Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja “not to become a stooge of this imported government.”

He added, “If an overseas Pakistani sends remittances back home—you don’t have any objection. But if the same person sends money to Imran Khan or PTI, you label them as foreign agents—why do you have this double standard?”

Beenish Faridi, a Pakistani-British dual- national has issued a video on social media in which she has taken on the ECP for labelling her as a foreign donor. In the video, she says that she donated money to PTI from the United Kingdom by legal means ahead of the 2013 general polls. Faridi tells the ECP to “stop labelling patriotic overseas Pakistanis as foreign nationals. We are patriotic Pakistanis who feel the pain of Pakistan.”

She has also sent an email to the electoral body. “I have seen my own name included in the Foreign National Donor List where I have been classified as a ‘non-Pakistani.’ Alhamdulillah, I am a Pakistani national, with a Pakistani passport and NICOP (National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis), who has been living in the UK for over 20 years,” the email says.

“As a loyal and patriotic Pakistani, it has been very disheartening and offensive to see that I have been given the status of a non-Pakistani on this list and further spreading my name over social media as a foreign donor,” the email adds.

She demanded of the ECP to correct this “grossly inaccurate report,” and warned to initiate legal action against the electoral body, otherwise. Another Pakistani national Hammad Saeed took to social media to disclose that his company Hoovertel, based in United Arab Emirates (UAE), was listed as a foreign donor by the ECP.

It worth mentioning here that the ECP, on Tuesday, announced the much-hyped and long-awaited verdict in the Prohibited Funding Case (formerly known as Foreign Funding Case) — around eight years after the case landed in the electoral body in November 2014. The commission has issued the PTI a show cause notice for explaining its position over receiving prohibited funds.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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