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Pakistan Election Commission serves two notices to Imran Khan over poll code violation

Khan criticised the verdict of ECP and said that PTI was the only party that raised money through political fundraising, unlike other parties (PML-N and PPP) which he said were run by “mafias”.

ANI | Islamabad |

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) served two notices on former prime minister and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Friday in two references relating to the case of prohibited foreign funding, in which the ECP had ruled that the party had received foreign funding, according to the local media reports.

In one of the notices, the election monitoring body summoned Khan on August 23, reported Daily Pakistan. Furthermore, the PTI chairman has received another notice from the ECP summoning him on August 18 to hear a reference about his disqualification, at the request of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leadership, reported Daily Pakistan.

A day earlier, the coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif filed a reference to the ECP asking for the former premier’s disqualification. Mohsin Nawaz Ranjha, an MNA for the PML-N, submitted the reference, reported Daily Pakistan.

The ECP in the August 2 verdict in PTI’s prohibited funding case, declared PTI to be a “foreign-funded party”. Imran and his party members had rejected the decision, calling it “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Khan criticised the verdict of ECP and said that PTI was the only party that raised money through political fundraising, unlike other parties (PML-N and PPP) which he said were run by “mafias”.

The PTI chief questioned if the money raised overseas by Pakistanis is wrong. He said, “They are calling it foreign funding. Tell me, if this money is foreign funding, then what about the remittances and the money that is sent for earthquakes and floods?”

As per media reports, UK newspaper Financial Times revealed how the PTI accrued funds through cricket matches organised under Wootton Cricket Ltd, a company owned by Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi.

As per the report, Naqvi transferred three instalments directly to the PTI in 2013, adding up to a total of USD 2.12 million.

Speaking of Arif Naqvi and the Financial Times report, Imran Khan said that his party had received money in 2012 from two fundraising dinners that Naqvi had organised.

He clarified that the businessman was charged with fraud six years later in 2018 and questioned how he could have known about that in 2012.

The PTI lawmakers have blamed the CEC for being biased, and stated “From the investigation to its verdict, the case is surrounded by severe doubts,” the memorandum stated, adding that Imran Khan had also, on multiple occasions, expressed his reservations with the ECP and the CEC.

It also alleged that the verdict of the poll body was influenced by the CEC’s meeting with the coalition parties last week.

The show cause notice issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on prohibited funding to PTI is likely to put Imran Khan’s leadership in danger as the funds received by the PTI Chief from foreign countries including the US, UAE, Australia and UK could lead to several numbers of cases against the party.

The move by ECP came right after it was revealed that the money received from the foreign countries was used by Khan to fund PTI and he made false declarations in 2018 before the elections.

The ECP in its decision issued a show-cause notice to the PTI, as to why the prohibited funds may not be confiscated as confiscation of the prohibited funds is the domain of the ECP.

The foreign funding case is pending since November 14, 2014, and it was filed by PTI founding member Akbar S Babar who had alleged that there are some financial irregularities in the PTI’s funding from Pakistan and abroad.