Thursday Jan 06, 2022
LAHORE: PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz on Thursday lambasted the PTI-led government for receiving foreign funding as revealed by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in its report and said that Prime Minister Imran Khan will have to be answerable to the masses for his wrongdoing.
Speaking during a press conference after a meeting of the PML-N in Lahore, Maryam said that PTI resorted to "misdeclaration" of funds upon the directives of PM Imran Khan.
Several other senior PML-N leaders, including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanaullah, Pervez Rasheed, and Maryam Aurangzeb were also in attendance during the press briefing.
Providing details related to the figures revealed in the ECP's report, she said that the PTI has 26 bank accounts, of which 18 were active, while only four were declared.
"The foreign funding case was delayed for seven years on various pretexts," she said. "You received funding from the USA, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, and England. Companies were formed abroad and all this was done at the behest of Imran Khan."
"Imran Khan solicited the money from abroad in the accounts of four of his employees but used all the money himself," Maryam said, adding that the PTI submitted fake certificates to the ECP.
"Imran Khan will have to be answerable to the people of Pakistan as to where he spent the illegal foreign funding," she said.
She went on to say that in order to prevent ECP's report from being publically released, the government exerted a lot of pressure on the commission.
Maryam further alleged that not only did the PTI government resort to the misdeclaration of foreign funding, but it also patronised and rewarded sugar, electricity, flour, and other mafias which led to inflation in the country.
The PML-N vice-president said that the PTI used the religion card to conceal his wrongdoing.
In the light of the allegations levelled against the premier, Maryam said that it was high time he stepped down from his office.
"The PML-N, as well as the joint Opposition, demand Imran Khan tenders his resignation for lying, receiving illegal funding, and the concealment of funding," she said, adding that an investigation must be launched into all the undeclared accounts that the PTI government owns in a transparent manner.
"Just like a JIT (joint investigation team) was formed against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a similar JIT must be formed to probe PTI too," she said. "All accounts owned by the PTI must be publically declared."
She said that since all the allegations of financial wrongdoing have been proven against the PTI, the people of Pakistan are waiting for accountability.
Lauding the ECP on releasing the report, Maryam said that it is now up to the commission to ensure that justice is served and Imran Khan is punished for his corruption.
"The way innocent people were imprisoned [in false cases] the ECP should ensure Imran Khan and his top leaders are also punished," she said.
Towards the end of her press conference, Maryam said that she trusts the judiciary of the country and said she hoped that justice will be served.
Answering a question regarding PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif's return to Pakistan, Maryam said that the party will decide it, adding that he only left the country on medical grounds and there were "no deals" signed.
"Nawaz Sharif did not leave the country as a result of any deal. He solely went to London for treatment because his life was in danger," she said, adding that Nawaz's condition had deteriorated because of the mistreatment he was subjected to while in the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) custody.
Regarding the leaked recording of a phone call Maryam had with Pervez Rasheed, she demanded an apology for tapping her phone without her knowledge.
"As a citizen of Pakistan, it was a violation of my rights to tap my personal phone call. Therefore, I am not going to comment on this issue unless I receive an apology."
On Tuesday, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) released a report of an ECP scrutiny committee and revealed that the ruling PTI hid funds worth millions of rupees from the commission.
The report stated that the PTI provided "false information" regarding the party's funding to the ECP.
It said that SBP's bank statement revealed that the party had received Rs1.64 billion in funding.
According to the report, the party did not disclose funding worth more than Rs310 million to the ECP.
The scrutiny committee was formed in 2019 to audit foreign funding received by the PTI. The case began in 2014 when the party's founding member, Akbar S Babar, filed it.
Babar alleged that the PTI received funding from illegal sources and that the party was also involved in money laundering, according to Dawn.
Today, in a Twitter post, Babar thanked Allah, saying he stands "vindicated".
The report laid bare the contradictions in details provided by the PTI to the ECP and actual figures.
According to data provided to the committee by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), PTI has 26 bank accounts.
From 2008 to 2013, PTI disclosed funds worth Rs1.33 billion to the ECP, whereas a report by the SBP shows the actual amount to be Rs1.64bn, the report said.
PTI failed to disclose details of three banks in the documentation provided to the ECP, it added.
It stated that around 1,414 companies in Pakistan, 47 foreign companies and 119 potential companies provided funds to PTI.
PTI received $2.3448 million in funding from the US, but the scrutiny committee couldn’t obtain access to the party's US bank accounts, the report said.
Of those to have contributed these funds were 4,755 Pakistanis, 41 non-Pakistanis and 230 foreign companies.
Besides the US, the PTI obtained funds from Dubai, UK, Europe, Denmark, Japan, Canada, Australia and several other countries.
A private bank provided details to SBP regarding $2.2 million funds being received by the PTI from Dubai, however, the scrutiny committee couldn’t get further details.
It was also unable to obtain information related to the funds received from the UK and Europe.
Due to a lack of information, the committee's report said that it cannot comment on the source of the funding from any of the countries.
The firm that audited the PTI's accounts based their reports on the same information for five years, the report noted, adding that the PTI changed the firm in the last year but the report's contents remained the same.
The report said that the committee arrived at the conclusion that there is a contradiction in the audit reports and the PTI's bank statements.
The committee sent the PTI a questionnaire on the funding received from the US and other countries but obtained no clear response, it added.