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Tuesday September 27, 2022

Foreign funding case: PTI concedes bank accounts were concealed

The PTI financial expert focused on reconciling the PTI balance sheet by pointing out alleged errors or double accounting in the scrutiny committee report

June 02, 2022
The PTI conceded that the bank accounts were concealed in the foreign funding case. Photo: The News/File
The PTI conceded that the bank accounts were concealed in the foreign funding case. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s financial expert Wednesday admitted before the ECP’s bench to have concealed bank accounts from the scrutiny committee but claimed that the donations received in the accounts were not transferred to PTI central accounts.

The hearing of the PTI foreign funding case resumed on a terse note when the Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja admonished the PTI team for appearing half an hour late. Instead of focusing on prohibited or foreign funding identified in the PTI accounts by the scrutiny committee, the PTI financial expert focused on reconciling the PTI balance sheet by pointing out alleged errors or double accounting in the scrutiny committee report.

The PTI financial expert also admitted that funds from the PTI central bank accounts were transferred to the provincial PTI accounts, which were disowned earlier in para-wise response submitted to the scrutiny committee before the ECP on March 15, 2022.

Taking notice of this revelation by the PTI expert, the Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja stated that the PTI conceded to have more accounts, as revealed by the SBP, than the number of accounts it disclosed. PTI’s financial expert said that nobody had the right to seek PTI bank statements from the State Bank of Pakistan. Upon which, an ECP member inquired if the statement implied that the Scrutiny Committee did not have an authority to write to the State Bank of Pakistan to access the PTI accounts.

PTI lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan interjected and contended that the expert only meant the PTI auditors were not authorised to write to the State Bank of Pakistan to access all PTI accounts. To which, the ECP member wondered and asked if it was not the responsibility of PTI to provide all bank statements of all PTI accounts to audit. However, the question remained unanswered by the PTI expert as well as the counsel. The chief election commissioner said the entire presentation could have been completed in ten minutes by furnishing the summary sheet detailing the balance sheet instead of giving unnecessary details. When the CEC inquired as to how much time PTI needed to finish its arguments, the PTI lawyer retracted his earlier commitment of concluding arguments on June 01, 2022, and sought some time to give final date for concluding arguments.

To this, the CEC reminded him about his commitment to conclude the arguments on June 01. The PTI lawyer maintained the case has international repercussions and the intra court appeal of PTI was yet to be decided. The CEC again reminded the PTI lawyer the PTI intra court appeal is a separate case and the ECP is not bound to suspend or delay the foreign funding case. The hearing was adjourned till Thursday at 12.30 pm.

Later, talking to the media outside the ECP, the petitioner and PTI founding member Akbar S Babar slammed PTI’s delaying tactics and said the PTI has repeatedly backed out of its commitments to conclude arguments using the pending intra court appeal as an excuse. He said that he had been running from pillar to post for almost eight years but justice was being denied to him under one pretext or the other.

Babar said the PTI is making a mockery of the entire judicial system and the system is allowing it to happen. Leaders are meant to defuse crisis instead of lighting the fires of discord and this is exactly what Imran Khan is doing, said Babar. He said Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in jail but he never took revenge from his tormentors, rather he negotiated for peace. This is what great leaders do to avoid bloodshed and carnage.

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