Sunday October 02, 2022

Who has the guts to disqualify Imran, asks Fawad

Fawad Chaudhry challenges Election Commission’s authority to issue notice to party chairman Imran Khan

By Mumtaz Alvi & News Desk
August 08, 2022
Information and Law Minister Fawad Chaudhry speaking during a press conference on March 29. —PID
Information and Law Minister Fawad Chaudhry speaking during a press conference on March 29. —PID

ISLAMABAD: PTI leader and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry Sunday challenged the Election Commission’s authority to issue a notice to the party chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan. The Election Commission Friday issued a notice to Imran, summoning him for a hearing in compliance with its recent judgment in the prohibited funding case.

According to the ECP website, a “Notice to Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf in terms of Rule 6 of Political Parties Rule 2006, in compliance of judgment by the commission dated August 2 in case title Akbar Sher Babar” was issued. It has been fixed for a hearing at 10am on August 23.

The PTI leader’s response to the notice came during a press conference in Islamabad. Reacting to the ECP’s ruling in the prohibited funding case, Fawad said the party had received Rs20 million in 13 accounts. “This amount was released to the party officials for office operations. In what capacity is the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) issuing notices to party leaders?” he asked, reported Geo.

The FIA started its probe into the party’s accounts on Saturday and served notices to various PTI leaders. Speaking of another case fixed for hearing pertaining to the question of disqualification of Imran Khan, Fawad remarked: “Who has the guts to disqualify Imran Khan?”

“Do you want to create a one-party system in Pakistan?” he asked. Fawad said the party had made preparations for the “final stage” of its ongoing anti-government campaign. “A historic rally will be held on August 13,” he said, adding: “We will not let them run away from [holding] elections.”

Directing his guns at the PPP, Fawad said the PPP’s “account auditors are nowhere to be found” and that it wasn’t the PPP, but rather the PPP Parliamentarians that fought the election. He further said that instead of the party leader, it was the general secretary that submitted the certificate to declare expenses of Rs232 million. “Money coming from America came directly to Zardari’s account,” he alleged. “There is no proof of the LLC created by the PPP,” he alleged further.

For the PML-N, he said, “there is no information at all regarding the sources of its funds”. The PTI leader recalled that the Islamabad High Court had directed the Election Commission to decide the case of funding of all parties, but it only issued a verdict on PTI’s funding.

“According to the law, every political party has to be audited. One party cannot fund another party,” he said. Why is the Election Commission saving PML-N and PPP?” he demanded to know. “It seems the Election Commission does not care about its reputation,” he said, adding that “the Election Commission did not have respect even earlier”.

Earlier in the day, responding to the remarks of Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah, Fawad said he was about as important as the Kohsar police station’s SHO (Station House Officer) and that he should “speak according to his status”.

He cautioned the minister against having to deal with more than he bargained for, without elaborating any further. “It’s better to be safe,” he added. Fawad said the party leaders who had been summoned by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) did not hold public posts back in 2011-12, adding that a JIT was being made in Punjab on May 25 incidents. He said the FIA had issued notices to senior PTI leaders including Asad Qaiser, Imran Ismail, and Ali Zaidi, while four employees of the PTI office had also been summoned.

He then shared some details and explained that there were a total of 13 accounts in which the total amount received by PTI people was Rs2 crore. “It is unfortunate that Marriyum Aurangzeb has become information minister and is claiming as if billions have been transferred in these accounts,” he contended.

Fawad said in the original documents submitted to the Election Commission in 2019, these Rs2 crore were declared and after that these 13 accounts were declared before the Election Commission on October 23, 2019 as well. Moreover, Rs2 crore was transferred because when the funding was completed in 2012, there were elections in 2013.

“This money was transferred to various PTI offices to run administrative matters in respect of holding these elections. Dr. Arif Alvi was running PTI Karachi office, so money was sent to him in Karachi, PTI office in Zamzama was being run by Imran Ismail; therefore, money was also sent to him,” he pointed out.

He accused Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of talking beyond his status saying 80 percent of the Pakistani population was currently ruled by PTI and two major provinces were completely with PTI, while Rana Sanaullah was only the SHO of Kohsar, so he should not say such things.

At the same time, he said, “we have decided that dozens of FIR requests are coming up on the 25th of May (against) including Rana Sanaullah, Ata Tarar, Ahmed Malik and Hamza Shehbaz, so a JIT will be formed which will summon all these people. Just as we are expected to cooperate with the FIA, we hope that these people will also cooperate with the JIT in these investigations and will not hide in Islamabad”.

Fawad said in addition to the Model Town case, the Punjab chief minister had already announced that his government will move the case forward expeditiously. “We hope that the federal government will cooperate with us in this regard and if the police want these people, they will be removed from office and allowed to be arrested,” he said.