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ECP scrutiny report exposed govt’s corrupt face: opposition

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that the report of the scrutiny committee was against Imran Khan.

By Asim Yasin & Mumtaz Alvi & News Desk
January 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties said on Wednesday that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) scrutiny report exposed the corruption-tainted face of the PTI government.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said that the report of the scrutiny committee was against Imran Khan. In his message on social networking site Twitter, Shehbaz Sharif said that the truth exposes people in its own special way.

Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had been running away from foreign funding case for last seven years. Chairman of Pakistan People’s Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, termed the Election Commission of Pakistan report that proved the PTI's foreign funding a damning indictment not only of the party’s corruption, which also exposed its hypocrisy “After the scrutiny report by the Election Commission of Pakistan, Imran Khan’s ugly face, tainted with corruption, has been exposed. Imran Khan had taken an oath of telling the truth, but instead, he hid the PTI’s bank accounts from the ECP,” he said in a statement on the report of ECP’s scrutiny committee in the foreign funding case.

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the ‘selected Prime Minister’, who embezzled crores of rupees, ridicules others for corruption. But it is now clear that Imran Khan was imposed on the country only under the guise of a so-called anti-corruption campaign. “He made false promises and looted the country instead,” he said. Today, he said, the devastated economy of the country is a witness to the PTI government ruthlessly plundering the national treasury. The chairman PPP said Imran Khan was portrayed as an honest person and forcibly imposed on Pakistan. “But the time has come for him to give an account of his actions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bilawal also questioned the PM's huge increase in income since coming into power. Through his twitter account, Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari questioned that an increase in income of Prime Minister Imran Khan as per recently released tax record and said that tax records reveal that Imran Khan’s income increased more than 50 times since gaining power.

“Pakistan has become poorer but Imran is richer,” he tweeted. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan welcomed the Election Commission of Pakistan’s scrutiny of PTI’s funding through donations from overseas Pakistanis and looked forward to seeing a similar scrutiny of PPP and PMLN funding. The prime minister said: “The more our accounts are scrutinised the more factual clarity would emerge for the nation to see how the PTI is the only political party with proper donor base premised on proper political fund-raising.” He contended that the ECP scrutiny of PPP and PMLN funding would allow the nation to see the difference between proper political fund-raising and extortion of money from crony capitalists and vested interests in exchange for favours at the nation’s expense. He expressed these views through tweets and wrote: “I welcome the ECP's scrutiny of the PTI's funding through donations from overseas Pakistanis. The more our accounts are scrutinised the more factual clarity will emerge for the nation to see how the PTI is the only political party with proper donor base premised on proper political fund-raising. I look forward to seeing a similar ECP scrutiny of funding of two other major political parties PPP & PMLN. This will allow the nation to see the difference between proper fundraising & extortion of money from crony capitalists & vested interests in exchange for favours at the nation's expense,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Following Prime Minister Imran Khan's statement regarding ECP report, PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz lambasted the ruling party and warned the premier to be ready, as the “time for accountability has come.”

PM Imran Khan earlier today took to his official Twitter handle and welcomed a report by the ECP's scrutiny committee, which had reportedly revealed that the PTI allegedly failed to disclose millions of rupees to the ECP.

However, replying to the premier's tweet, Maryam questioned why he did not let the case proceedings continue for the last seven years. “Why did you [Imran Khan] keep hiding for so many years and then kept begging that the report should not be released,” she questioned.

She claimed that PM Khan thought "the people of Pakistan are fools who will believe whatever he says." Welcoming the report and its claims, the PMLN leader further wrote, “The report has only just surfaced and your record is already tainted.”

“Think of the time when you will be held accountable regarding these funds, you will be questioned from whom did you receive the money, where did you spend it, how did you manipulate your employees' accounts, etc." “You have not only committed theft and fraud but are also guilty of insulting words such as ‘sadiq’ (honest) and ‘ameen’(trustworthy),” she reiterated.

Imran Khan had earlier said that the more their accounts are scrutinised, the more factual clarity will emerge for the nation to see how the PTI is the "only political party with a proper donor base premised on proper political fundraising".

He also mentioned that he was looking forward to seeing similar ECP scrutiny reports on the funding of two other major political parties — PPP and PMLN. Meanwhile, JUIF Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman took a jibe at Prime Minister Imran Khan in relation to a report released by the ECP and said if the wrongdoings of all the politicians are combined, they would still not be comparable to the level of corruption committed by Imran Khan.

Addressing a joint press conference along with Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP) Chairman Mustafa Kamal, Fazl lashed out at PM Imran khan for "corruption and hiding foreign funding worth millions from the ECP." Fazl said that PTI is a "party of thieves" and it was the only party that introduced the culture of hurling abuses in politics.

He further said that speculations are circulating about legislation of local bodies elections, but the country not only needs to run according to the Constitution but decisions throughout the four provinces should also be made accordingly.

He said that the scrutiny committee report on foreign funding has revealed everything about the ruling PTI, therefore, "whatever I had already predicted about Imran Khan is turning out to be true." Answering a question, Fazl said whoever recorded Pervaiz Rasheed and Maryam Nawaz' phone call "should not have done so, as it's unfair to record someone's calls."

On the occasion, PSP chairman Mustafa kamal also seconded Fazl and said that JUIF and PSP are "on the same page and the country should be run according to the Constitution."

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib accused former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Akbar S Babar of getting an easyload from the PMLN to file a frivolous petition against the foreign funding of ruling party.

“PMLN has been trying to give an impression that the PTI was taking funds from foreign countries or multinationals asking it to work against the national interest,” the minister said in a news conference. Mocking at the PMLN for its ‘failed financial investment’ on Akbar S Babar, who totally misled the party on the PTI’s foreign funding and the former misled the nation on that count.

“Those who used to give an easyload to Akbar S Babar have wasted their money and time,” he said, adding the PTI stood vindicated as the ECP scrutiny committee perused its financial documents.

As Akbar S Babar was on the PMLN’s payroll, he had to provide every ‘misleading’ information, he added. “English [language] troubles the PMLN,” the minister said, recalling the embarrassment faced by its leaders after celebrations sans reading of the decision on the Panama Paper case. Farrukh also lashed out at the PMLN leaders for their analysis without going through the scrutiny committee's report.

He said it was the PTI which had introduced culture of ‘political fund raising’ in the country by collecting funds from the overseas Pakistanis. He noted that after the 9/11 incident, the laws were stiffened in the United States (US) where registration needed if remittances exceeded over $30. It was stated in the last para of the scrutiny committee report’s page 81 that the petitioner should have provided authentic information, but failed.

Even, the report of Ahsan S Ahsan was not accepted, the minister maintained. As regards some media reports that funds amounting to Rs310 million, out of the total funding of Rs1.68 billion received by the PTI, he said it had been clarified that the amount was counted twice.

No transaction was made from some accounts, while a few of them were with zero balance, he added. He said all the funds poured in the PTI accounts through legal means as unlike other political parties, it had an elaborate and legal system maintained by top-ranking chartered accountants. Farrukh said the PPP kept nine accounts secret from the ECP in 2013, 11 of them in 2014 and 10 in 2015. It had no record of the funds amounting to Rs350 million.

The perusal of PMLN financial documents by the PTI financial experts, he said, had revealed that nine accounts were hidden by the party from the ECP. The party only managed to submit bank statements of two such accounts when it was revealed that it kept some nine secret accounts.

Funds amounting to Rs620 million poured in their accounts, but they had no record of donations amounting to Rs450 million, he added. Farrukh said limited companies were registered by the PMLN in the US and the United Kingdom (UK) bearing numbers 6521 and 9781563, respectively, which were involved in commercial activities, including poultry and other items.

Similarly, he said, the PPP also had a registered company abroad, with Asif Zardari its head. To a query, he said Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUIF) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman admitted that he himself, Zardari and Nawaz had committed corruption.