ISLAMABAD: Did the PTI top leadership lie and conceal the information about 13 bank accounts from the Election Commission of Pakistan during the scrutiny process in the foreign funding case? The party’s official documents suggest the top leadership was in full knowledge of these accounts and misled the Election Commission.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan submitted Form-I to the Election Commission continuously for five years (from 2008 to 2013) and certified that the information [presented before the ECP] was correct and no funds were received by the party from any sources that are prohibited under the Political Parties Order 2002.
Since the PTI concealed and did not declare these accounts before the ECP, it had no option but to disown the 13 bank accounts. They were only revealed to the ECP once the scrutiny committee received bank records of these accounts from the State Bank of Pakistan. Interestingly, the PTI leadership as well as the party’s finance secretary who represented the PTI in the scrutiny committee had authorised and operated those accounts but lied to the ECP about the ownership of these accounts.
According to legal experts, since the accounts were concealed and undeclared by the PTI, they would constitute prohibited funding under the law. Documents seen by The News suggest that not just for once but for five years, the PTI chairman misrepresented the facts and lied before the ECP about the 13 bank accounts that were being operated by the party’s senior leaders and office-bearers.
The PTI disowned 13 bank accounts during the scrutiny process carried out by the ECP in the foreign funding case but the party’s official documents suggest otherwise. Not only the PTI top leadership knew about these accounts, but also all the signatories of some of these accounts were appointed through the party’s central finance board’s resolutions. The ECP verdict in the PTI foreign funding case reveals that two of these accounts were opened by Imran Khan himself.
The resolutions passed by the finance board clearly reflect that the PTI’s top leadership was not only in full knowledge, but also some top leaders — including the then party’s secretary general and some other senior leaders including Asad Qaiser, Imran Ismail, Atif Khan and others — were signatories to some of these accounts at some point of time.
Documents show that on December 2, 2012, the central finance board of PTI held a meeting and approved the appointment of four individuals — Mohammad Saleem Jan, Khalid Masood, Zafarullah Khan Khattak and Engr. Hamidul Haq as signatories to an existing account of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Khyber Pakhtunkhwa at KASB Bank Limited in Peshawar Cantt. A similar resolution was passed on the same date for appointment of these four individuals as signatories to the party’s bank account in HBL Peshawar.
After the finance board’s resolution, a notification was sent to HBL Peshawar general manager, who was informed about the changing of account signatories on December 4, 2012. According to this notification, Asad Qaiser and Atif Khan along with two other party office-bearers were removed as signatories of this account. The notification named Mohammad Saleem Jan, Khalid Masood, Zafarullah Khan Khattak and Engr. Hamidul Haq as the new signatories to operate the party bank account. Contrary to these facts, the PTI leadership in its written reply misrepresented the facts before the ECP and claimed that these accounts were unauthorised and not in the knowledge of the PTI’s finance department.
In contradiction to the PTI finance department’s claim, the documents clearly reflect that the finance board was not only aware of these accounts but had also appointed and removed the signatories of these accounts.
On March 28, 2022 this reporter contacted at least four PTI leaders — Muhammad Saleem Jan, Samar Ali Khan, Jahangir Rehman and Najeeb Haroon — who in the past were signatories to some of those bank accounts that were disowned by the party before the ECP scrutiny committee. All these four individuals confirmed to The News that the PTI leadership was in knowledge of these accounts. According to them, these accounts were opened and operated to run the day-to-day affairs of the party. However, despite this, the PTI lied to the ECP while submitting an undertaking by the party chief Imran Khan that all the information was correct to the best of his knowledge.
Political pundits believe if these resolutions are submitted as evidence during the trial and if it is proved that the party leadership knew about these accounts, then it would cause trouble to Imran Khan.
Meanwhile, addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Fawad said it was stated that the PTI had concealed 16 bank accounts. He said the documents submitted to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) contained all the information about these accounts and nothing was hidden from the commission.
He said the bank accounts were opened in the name of PTI leaders, including Imran Ismail and Asad Qaiser, and funds were transferred to their accounts from the party’s main account. Fawad said the funding came in 2012. As the country went to polls in 2013 and the party had to make election expenses, it had to create subsidiary bank accounts, he added.
Explaining the accounting procedure, Fawad said, “If there’s Rs0.5m in my account and it goes to account B, then the accountant will not count the B account because in that case the amount will double, which means Rs1 million. The actual money transferred to the account is Rs0.5 million and not Rs1 million.”
Fawad said money came into the PTI’s main account and it was declared. He said the money from the main account was transferred to the subsidiary accounts. Explaining further, Fawad said if Rs1 billion came into the main account and it went to the subsidiary accounts, then it would be counted as Rs2 but the accountants only consider the main account because the subsidiary accounts get declared with it.
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