PTI-UK at odds over lack of transparency in donations

PTI is an established political Pakistani party in the UK and currently has around 9000 registered members

Wadood Mushtaq

LONDON: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has submitted 688 pages reply to the apex court in the alleged foreign funding case but it has not shown the bank statements related to the donations sent from the UK over fears that questions will be asked about the unexplained amounts landing into PTI’s account.

In the UK’s Companies House, PTI is registered as a limited company (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf UK, PTI UK, Company number 07381036). It’s managed and handled by two sole directors: Shahid Hussain and Mohammad Iqbal (also known as Mo Iqbal). PTI leader Imran Khan has appointed Shahid Hussain and Mo Iqbal to run the “Finance Board” which is responsible to the party leader directly and not to the UK members or PTI’s elected leadership in the UK.

Serious questions exist about the transparency in regards to the accounts and donations that are raised in the UK.

PTI’s elected bodies in the UK have been at odds, for several years, with the “Finance Board” demanding explanations about the membership fees that’s paid on monthly basis and how and where its spent but the influential Finance Board has never answered questions to PTI members, telling them that they are answerable only directly to PTI Chairman Imran Khan and none else.

Current and former elected body leaders of PTI have told this scribe that they have protested against the “Finance Board” at the highest level but Mo Iqbal enjoys direct influence with the party leader in Pakistan and silence prevails when it comes to him. Mo Iqbal and Shahid Hussain run affairs of the un-elected and unregulated Finance Board but donations are collected from the paid members, public and through open appeals.

PTI is an established political Pakistani party in the UK and currently has around 9000 registered members who pay monthly subscription. It used to charge £36 to its members per annum but reduced fees to £18 last year to increase membership. Currently it raised through membership fees around £160000 but a senior told The News on condition of privacy that PTI collected around £210000 and more when its membership fees was £36 per annum.

On top of this, donations have been collected through open appeals and at events for which there is either no record available or no questions are answered as how this money is transferred to Pakistan or whether this money is transferred to another country. Two senior leaders told this scribe they had asked the party leadership to make the bank statements public after it came up during internal discussions that PTI’s money is sent to a Dubai company for investment and only some portion is sent to Pakistan.

The senior leader said the issue of transparency has come up in almost discussion both in the UK and during meetings with PTI leaders visiting from Pakistan but everyone seems to be helpless.

Senior PTI figures told The News that several complaints have been launched with Office of International Chapters (OIC) about the lack of transparency but every request has been suppressed or silenced and anyone who questions faces isolation and opposition from top of the party. PTI’s leadership including Imran Khan, his sister Aleena Khan and other leaders come to the UK regularly to raise funds. They join charity events and dinner parties hosted by local party members and some other “special donors” to raise funds.

Monies are raised for three entities: PTI UK, Namal College (Habib Bank AG Zurich number 70067212125300, Sort Code 60-91-95, charity registered number 1144897) and Shaukat Khanum Hospital (Barclay’s Bank account number 40550256, Sort Code: 20-37-75).

It is pertinent to mentioned that during protest, PTI has been holding events to collect funds for political events in Pakistan.

Funds were raised across the UK for Azadi March, also called Tsunami march from 14th August 2014 to 17th Dec 2014 held in Islamabad against Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, and PTI sources confirm that around £300000 was raised for Dharna. Letters were sent to the Finance Board to explain how and where money was spent but no answers were provided.

In July 2014 Imran Khan thanked his friend Aneel Mussarat for raising half a million Pounds. Last year in May, Imran Khan attended two events in London and Manchester. Imran Khan said that he had raised £550000 “within an hour and a half” in Manchester and also in London. PTI said in a statement that fundraiser for Namal in London/Manchester had “collectively raised £750000”. Sources inside PTI say that the money was sent to Finance Board but its not clear whether the full amount of £750000 went to Pakistan or not.

The News tried to contact Mo Iqbal and Shahid Hussain for comment but none received calls over two days.

Originally published in The News on July 26.

Originally published in The News