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Friday October 07, 2022

On benami accounts and fate of PTI leaders who operated them

Out of 13 undeclared accounts, two were opened on the request of Imran Khan while 11 were being operated by other party leaders

August 03, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan with party leaders. Courtesy PTI Official
PTI Chairman Imran Khan with party leaders. Courtesy PTI Official

ISLAMABAD: While the sword of disqualification hangs over Imran Khan for consecutive mis-declaration in the account statements submitted for five years before the Election Commission of Pakistan, there can be potential implications for other party stalwarts in whose name the accounts were opened but disowned by the party.

Out of 13 undeclared accounts, two were opened on the request of Imran Khan while 11 were being operated by other party leaders. But the PTI in a statement before the ECP disowned them. Consequently, the ECP graded them as disowned/benami/fake accounts and the investigation found out that the money was transferred from them into the declared accounts.

“As these accounts have now been disowned by PTI, therefore, all these accounts come under the category of illegitimate/fake accounts (benami accounts). Further examination indicates that the contention of the respondents is devoid of any force due to the reason that inter-bank transfers have been found to be made by PTI in their declared accounts from the accounts disowned and are termed as ‘unknown by PTI,’ reads a relevant excerpt from the verdict in foreign funding case.

One of the benami accounts was opened and operated by Mian Mehmood Ur Rashid. He was the PTI Lahore president at that time. Account title was ‘PTI Lahore’. From this account, an amount of Rs16.182 million was withdrawn and an amount of Rs20.372 million was deposited. Another account from Lahore titled as ‘PTI Punjab’ at Muslim Commercial Bank was being operated by Mian Mohammad Farooq, then party’s secretary general of Punjab. The authorisation and request letter with names of signatories was signed by Imran Khan. From this account, Rs14.097 million were withdrawn and Rs15.149 million were deposited.

Former Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser opened and operated an account in Habib Bank, Peshawar, together with Muhammad Ashfaq and Mohsin Wadud. A sum of Rs0.782 million was withdrawn and Rs0.860 million was deposited. Qaiser operated yet another account titled as ‘PTI NWFP’ in Bank Islami’s Peshawar branch together with former governor Shah Farman and Imran Shehzad. An amount of Rs2.11 million was withdrawn and an amount of Rs2.127 million was deposited into it. Details of an account at Bank of Khyber, Peshawar, were not available as to who was operating it.

Former governor Sindh Imran Ismail operated an account together with MNA Muhammad Najeeb Haroon and MPA Samar Ali Khan in Habib Bank’s Karachi branch. An amount of Rs39.471 million was withdrawn and an amount of Rs40.224 million was deposited into the account titled as ‘PTI Sindh’. The party’s MPA from Sindh Seema Zia operated an account in Habib Bank Karachi together with Mrs Roshna. It was titled as ‘PTI Women Wing Sindh’. An amount of Rs300 was withdrawn and an amount of Rs1.077 million was deposited into it.

Former deputy speaker National Assembly Qasim Khan Suri held an account in Bank of Punjab’s Quetta branch when he was PTI’s provincial president. Syed Abdul Wahab and Dawood Khan were co-operators. An amount of Rs5.350 million was withdrawn and an amount of Rs5.556 million was deposited in the account. An account in Bank Islami, Islamabad, was opened with the ‘PTI Federal Capital’ title. The account opening documents were not available; hence, the operator remained unknown. A sum of Rs0.769 million was withdrawn and Rs1.154 million was deposited into it. Another account in the Karachi branch of the same bank was being operated but the account opening record was not available as it was purportedly burnt during riots occurred after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Two accounts in Habib Bank Islamabad were opened on the request of Imran Khan. The signatories were Sardar Azhar Tariq, Col. (R) Younas Ali Raza and Saifullah Khan Niazi. An amount of $51,750 was withdrawn from one of those accounts; whereas, an amount of Rs84.14 million was withdrawn and an amount of Rs86.89 million was deposited into the other account.

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