PTI plays funding verdict down, govt says Imran proven ‘guilty’


Following the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) verdict over the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) prohibited funding case on Tuesday, the PTI said it was “not a big deal”, while the ruling coalition claimed former premier Imran Khan was proven “guilty”.

In its verdict, the ECP said the PTI received ‘prohibited funds’ from 34 foreign nationals and 351 companies based outside the country.

Addressing a press conference earlier today, PTI leader Farrukh Habib announced that “today’s verdict proved our stance that this is not a case of foreign funding”.

He maintained that the “PTI has merely been issued a notice” and has not been banned, and the show-cause notice, he said, “will be responded to adequately”.

The party claimed that “no foreign funding has been proven”, and that the verdict has only exposed “another propaganda” of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – a coalition of political parties that remain staunch critics of the PTI.

Speaking to the media, senior party leader, Fawad Chaudhry said that the PTI was the “only party in Pakistan that does funding.” adding that the party “does not hide its funding from the people”.

“Oversees Pakistanis have also funded” the party, stated the former minister and questioned why the PML-N considers them as”its enemy”.

Read ECP says PTI received ‘prohibited funds’ from 34 foreign nationals

Admitting that the party should have declared 16 accounts, however, he said that “Imran Khan did not know about them”.

In a tweet earlier this morning, Fawad had termed the verdict as “no big deal”.

“The election commission is not going to make political decisions. The real decision is to be made by the people,” he had stated.

He furthered that “both the Supreme Court and the High Court have decided that the ECP should decide the cases of all three [major] political parties together,” and accused the electoral watchdog of not looking into the PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s funding.

Continuing the attack on the electoral watchdog, PTI General-Secretary Asad Umar said that the commission is “acting like a political party instead of an unbiased institution”.

Umar questioned why the ECP was not releasing the funding reports of rival parties in the ruling coalition, which he termed a “violation of the Supreme Court and High Court’s directives”.

Echoing similar sentiments, Awami Muslim League (AML) Chairman Sheikh Rashid demanded the Chairman Election Commission (CEC) resign from his post.

He said that “nobody could cause Imran any damage” regardless of how hard they tried.

“Much ado about nothing,” he remarked.

‘Guilty as accused’

The petitioner and founding member of the PTI, Akbar Babar, however, declared the PTI “guilty as accused”.

Standing outside the ECP today, Babar termed this a “turning point” in Pakistan’s political history, that he predicted would “put parties in their place”, which is “under the law”.

Read More Special body demanded to probe PTI funding

Lauding the verdict as a “historic” stance “against fascism” in the country, the former PTI leader said that it was “time for a regime change” within the party.

“Imran Khan should resign after the case,” he said as he called on “returning” the party’s reigns to its “ideological members”.

Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, while speaking to the media at a press conference, joined in the call for the PTI chairman’s resignation from his post as the party chief as she called Imran Khan “a foreign conspiracy against Pakistan”.

“The federal government will act according to the law” on the matter, she said.

Also Read Damning report on PTI funding a godsend for beleaguered PML-N

Commenting on the ECP’s verdict, former premier and PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that “PTI made every effort to delay the verdict” but today “the decision was in front of all to see”.

Pointing at the irony of the situation Abbasi said that “those who alleged that others were part of a foreign conspiracy were in fact the ones funded by foreign nationals, including Indians.”

The PML-N leader also emphasised that “these are only facts before 2014” and that “whatever happened after this will also come forward”.

Terming Imran the country’s “biggest thief”, Abbasi questioned how the verdict reflected on the PTI chief’s status as “truthful and trustworthy” – a nod to the Article 62 and 63 debate that surrounded the ouster of PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in 2018.

“The law will take its path,” he added.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz also added insult to injury terming Imran Khan “imported”.

She stated that Imran was the first politician in Pakistan’s history to be “proven a liar, corrupt, money launderer and acting on the influence of external forces with irrefutable evidence in a single judgment”.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also took to his official Twitter handle and called the ousted premier “a certified liar”.

He added that the “nation should ponder over the implications of his politics funded by foreigners.”

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Originally published at tribune.com.pk

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