The Election Commission of Pakistan today has announced the “much awaited” judgment of the PTI Prohibited funding case. In its 70 pages written order, ECP declared that PTI had received prohibited funds from 34 foreign national and 351 foreign companies.
A three-member bench of ECP headed by chief election commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja declared that “The chairman of PTI for the financial year 2008-2009 to 2012-2013 (Five Years) has submitted form-I which were found to be grossly inaccurate on the basis of financial statements obtained by this commission from SBP and other material on record.”
ECP bench also added that by receiving the prohibited funding, PTI has violated article 17(3) of the constitution of Pakistan and now this matter attracts article 6(3) of PPO 2002.
According to the written order, “PTI through its submission before the Commission has accepted ownership of only eight (08) accounts while it declared 13 accounts under the category of Unknown accounts and not pertain to PTI account. The data obtained from SBP reveals that all the 13 accounts disowned by PTI were opened and operated by senior PTI management and Leadership at the Central and Provincial levels. In this regard, it is further added that PTI failed to mention and disclose three accounts which were also being operated by senior leadership of the Party. Non-disclosure and concealment of 16 bank accounts by PTI which is a serious reporting lapse at the part of PTI leadership and in violation of Article 17 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan.”
As per the judgement, “PTI Pakistan knowingly and willfully received donations from Wootton cricket
limited registered in Cayman island which was operated and owned by a business tycoon Mr. Arif Masood Naqvi the owner of Abraaj Group. The Respondent party was willing recipient of prohibited money of US $ 2,121,500 (Dollar Two Million One Hundred Twenty-One Thousand Five Hundred).”
Interestingly, ECP declared that “An amount of US $ 27,500 (Dollar Twenty-Seven Thousand Five Hundred) was transferred by Mr. Nasser Aziz and Romita Shetty through their account being operated from Singapore. Mr. Nasser Aziz is USA national of Pakistani Origin (dual National), while, Ms.Romita Shetty is a US based business women of Indian origin. Both the individuals have made joint contributions to PTI account. The donation of US$ 13.750 by Ms. Romita Shetty falls under the category of prohibited-contribution under Article 2(C) (i) and Article 6(3) of PPO,2002 made by a foreign national.”
Dr Arslan, who is part PTI digital team, reacted to the above paragraph of the verdict and said that this donation was made by a joint account that was being used by Pakistani dual national Mr. Nasser and his Indian wife but ECP declared that the donation is prohibited.
Another overseas Pakistani termed ECP’s judgement “ridiculous”. He further added that “What a ridiculous judgement and investigation by ECP. I donated $100 USD from my company’s PayPal account back in 2013 and I see my old company’s name “Probist Inc” in the list.”
Federal ministers of the Government alliance welcomed the judgment and criticized PTI and Imran Khan by calling them “Thieves”.
PTI rejected the verdict by terming it “biased” and announced that PTI will approach Islamabad High Court against this order of ECP.