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Saturday August 20, 2022

Sindh Assembly resolution calls for ECP to announce verdict in PTI foreign funding case

By Our Correspondent
July 30, 2022

The Sindh Assembly on Friday adopted through a majority vote a resolution urging the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to immediately announce its verdict in the prohibited funding case also referred to as foreign funding case pending against the PTI.

Sadia Javed, a lawmaker of the Pakistan Peoples Party, tabled the resolution in the house.

In the resolution, the Sindh Assembly demanded that the ECP of Pakistan announce immediately the final verdict in the case related to allegedly prohibited foreign funding to the PTI.

The high-profile case has remained pending for years before the ECP and has been delayed on various pretexts, the resolution read. It added that the indecision posed a risk to the national security since the foreign powers through such funds were in a position to influence the political discourse of the country.

“There are sufficient pieces of evidence showing that PTI got funds from Indians and Israelis to run political campaigns in Pakistan,” the resolution read.

The provincial legislature declared through the resolution that funds received from foreign governments and multinational corporations were deemed as ‘foreign funding’ and a leading British newspaper, Financial Times, in a report had also disclosed complete details of how the PTI had received funds in the name of charity and later utilised them for political purposes.

Sindh Labour Minister Saeed Ghani mentioned that the foreign funding case had been pending against the PTI for the past eight years. He said the PTI itself had employed delaying tactics to defer the announcement of the verdict.

He said the case indicated that since its formation, the PTI had been involved in corrupt practices. He alleged that the PTI in the past elections had awarded tickets to its candidates after getting money from them.

Donations received for charitable causes had been misused by the PTI in contesting polls, Ghani alleged.

He added the PTI’s bank accounts had received donations from Israelis and Indian and the party also invested public donations in real estate business.

Ghani also alleged that the PTI had concealed its various bank accounts from the ECP that were operated by its top leaders, including Asad Qaiser, Arif Alvi and Imran Ismail.

The labour minister said that no case had been lodged against PTI Chairman Imran Khan although he had sold precious watches kept in the Tosha Khana.

He said that earlier, Tosha Khana-related cases were lodged against former prime ministers Yousuf Raza Gilani and Nawaz Sharif, and former president Asif Ali Zardari.

He hoped that the ECP would soon announce its judgment in the prohibited funding case soon.

Sindh Education and Culture Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah said Khan had received funding from the enemies of the country as subsequently during his rule, he weakened the federation of Pakistan. He added that the PTI chairman did not like the 18th constitutional amendment despite the fact that it stood for promoting federalism in the country.

He blamed Khan for the constant devaluation of the Pakistani currency that had weakened the economy.

Question hour

The Sindh Assembly was given assurance that seats or space would always be reserved for people with disabilities in all the new public buses to be brought by the provincial government for the people of Karachi.

Answering queries of concerned lawmakers during the question hour, Sindh Transport and Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said buses under the newly launched People's Bus Service to ply on different routes of Karachi had space reserved for persons with disabilities.

He told the House that the best mass transportation facility had been launched for the people of Karachi in the form of the People’s Bus Service with minimum fares.

He said the Sindh government of the Pakistan Peoples Party was committed to providing the most modern and comfortable mass transit facilities to the people with the least possible passenger fares.

The transport minister informed the legislature that up to 99 per cent of work on the Orange Line section of the Bus Rapid Transit Service (BRTS) in Karachi had been completed. He said that the Orange Line BRTS named after the late philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi would be launched in August this year.

He added that the Red Line BRTS would be the first-ever mass transit service in Pakistan, which would be run on renewable bio-gas fuel and the cost of the project was being re-evaluated.

He said the federally run Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd would run both the Green Line and Orange Line BRTS in Karachi initially for three years and later both the services would be operated by the Sindh government.

The parliamentary party leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Khurrum Sher Zaman, however, rejected Memon’s claims regarding improvement in mass transit facilities for the people of Karachi.

He said the provincial government had utterly failed to provide good mass transportation facilities to Karachi.

He said that owing to such brazen failures of the Sindh government in the arena of public service, Karachi was unfortunately ranked among the cities with the worst living conditions globally.

Zaman remarked that the buses of the newly launched People’s Bus Service had to operate on dilapidated roads of Karachi and their passengers did not enjoy a smooth ride.

He recalled that it was the previous government of Imran Khan, which had completed and launched the Green Line bus service in Karachi.

PTI protest

Meanwhile, lawmakers of the PTI vocally protested in the assembly against the recent arrest of the leader of the opposition, Haleem Adil Sheikh, who belongs to their party, and the failure of the Sindh government to normalise civic situation in Karachi after heavy rains.

The concerned opposition MPAs displayed placards in the house with pictures of the troubled state of civic services in Karachi after heavy rains. They demanded that the House should put aside its regular agenda and only discuss the post-rain poor state of affairs of the city.

The PTI legislators said the Sindh government should inform the House about how much more time it required to normalise civic and municipal services in Karachi that had been ruined after monsoon rains.

The opposition leader, who attended the session after he was freed a day earlier, said that he had to often face troubling times at the hands of the Sindh government as he frequently raised his voice on behalf of the deprived people of the province whose miseries were endless.

He said his crime was that he used to highlight important fundamental issues of the province like the lack of clean drinking water for the people.

Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla alleged that cases had been lodged against the opposition leader as he had been involved in illegal possession of land belonging to other people.

He said that cases against Sheikh would be withdrawn the moment he decided to return the land under his illegal possession to their legitimate owners.

As Chawla termed Sheikh the biggest land grabber, the PTI MPAs resorted to protest in the House.

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