Monday December 04, 2023

FIA begins inquiry in prohibited foreign funding case, summons several PTI leaders

The agency has formed six committees in different cities

By Web Desk
August 06, 2022
The FIAs building in Islamabad. — FIA/File
The FIA's building in Islamabad. — FIA/File

PESHAWAR/KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday commenced its country-wide inquiry — initiated a day earlier — into PTI’s prohibited foreign funding case.

The agency has so far summoned PTI leaders Asad Qaisar, Mian Mahmood-ur-Rashid and 11 others to address questions during the probe with a total of six inquiries opened concurrently in major cities across the country, including federal capital Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi.

The FIA, a day before, also called employees of PTI’s secretariat to inquire about the money laundering and embezzlement in these funds, and statements of these employees were recorded.

Former National Assembly speaker has been called in by FIA Peshawar, directing him to reach the agency’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa office on August 11 at 2PM.

FIA authorities maintain that 13 accounts have been identified in which these funds were transferred. The agency has issued notices to the banks under which these accounts have been operating.

The banks are also directed by the courts to submit complete details of these bank accounts to the FIA in order to help inquiry teams with the probe.

The investigation began following a letter written by PTI founding member Akbar S Babar, requesting an investigation against the PTI for receiving funds through accounts opened in the name of junior employees.

PTI the only public-funded party: Qaiser

As per the FIA’s notice, Qaisar has been asked to appear before the inquiry team in personal capacity and respond to queries regarding his two bank accounts, which according to the verdict of the Akbar S. Babar case, were opened and operated by him.

The PTI leader confirmed receiving the notice on Twitter saying that the party will not be afraid by the “imported government’s” ways to bring it down.

“The imported government should stop using national institutions for political vengeance,” he tweeted.

Qaisar maintained that the PTI had received funding by legal means and deemed it as the only public-funded political party.

It should be noted that following the ECP’s foreign funding verdict, the FIA began investigating PTI’s leader and workers.

Committees formed by FIA

According to sources, FIA has formed five investigation committees comprising of three members each in different cities, while a committee has been set up at the headquarters for coordination.

Sources further added that the committees will proceed with the investigation in line with the directions of the ECP; the terms of reference (TOR) have been issued in this regard.

FIA Director-General Mohsin Butt is overseeing all investigations.

In Karachi, the FIA has formed a five-member team headed by Deputy Director Bank Circle Rabia Qureshi comprising Assistant Director Rauf Sheikh, Inspectors Sabeen Ghauri, Aftab Watoo, and Sub Inspector Rahat Khan.

The committee has been directed to investigate funding companies, individual bank accounts, and all other monetary details, which are to be later shared with the central committee formed in the headquarters.

FIA will conduct investigation: Marriyum

Earlier this week, the Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb shared that Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will conduct investigation into PTI's foreign funding case.

During a press conference in the federal capital on August 4, the minister said that an inquiry has been started against “all those involved in this crime”.

The government will take an action in the light of the Election Commission of Pakistan's verdict and there will be an investigation as to where the funds were used," she said, adding that "all of them would have been in jail if the verdict had come during Imran Khan's tenure."

Akbar S Babar’s writes letter to FIA

In an application he sent on August 5, Babar said that he had demanded this investigation in 2016 and 2017 but it fell on deaf ears of the agency.

The PTI’s financial board in 2011 illegally authorized four employees of the party’s central secretariat to collect donations in their personal accounts from within Pakistan and abroad, he wrote to the FIA DG. The practice is verified and documented in the verdict of the foreign funding case against the PTI. A sum of Rs11.104 million was deposited in the accounts of the PTI employees which was beyond their known sources of income.

In view of the gravity of the crime committed by the party leadership and four employees, his letter reads, all legal actions appropriate under law may be initiated.