PM dares opposition for live broadcast of foreign funding case hearings on TV

Prime Minister Imran Khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday challenged the opposition parties for a live broadcast of the hearings of foreign funding case.

Addressing journalists in South Waziristan, during his day-long visit to the district, he also said the case should be heard in the presence of political parties’ leaders.

Imran Khan claimed that it was only the PTI that raised political funds through democratic means.

A day earlier, the ECP spokesperson said “the commission was fully aware of its constitutional as well as legal responsibilities and has directed the scrutiny committee to meet at least three days a week.”

The ECP’s statement came following the opposition alliance’s – the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) – protest in front of its office in Islamabad, demanding an early decision on the PTI’s foreign funding case.

Funding from overseas Pakistanis is not only a lifeline for political parties of Pakistan but it also plays a big role in running the country, the premier said. Overseas Pakistanis also helped him with funds for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, he added.

Speaking of the opposition’s foreign funding sources, he said that “these parties [especially PML-N and PPP] and I both know what foreign funding is”.

Many countries sent funds to the opposition during their tenure, he said, adding that “I can’t name them because of our relations with them [the countries].”

Prime Minister Khan thanked the opposition for raising the foreign funding case. It should be noted where the funding of the PTI and opposition parties has been coming from, he said.

“Everyone should know where they [the opposition] collected the money from. The whole nation will know who raised money properly in this country,” he asserted.

Moving to the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam – Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the PM said he used children enrolled at his seminaries to blackmail the government.

The premier questioned where Fazl’s property – worth billions of rupees – came from. He claimed that Fazl was blackmailing the government for a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

Khan further highlighted that Pakistan’s economic indicators were better than other countries, despite the Coronavirus pandemic. “Despite the economic downturn and Covid-19, our economic indicators are better than other countries,” he observed.

He also highlighted that parliamentary democracy cannot be reformed without an overwhelming majority.

Foreign Funding Cases

In 2014, Akbar S Babar, founding member of the PTI, had filed a petition with the ECP, alleging irregularities in party funds.

He said besides receiving funds from overseas Pakistanis, the PTI had also received funds from foreigners, which was not allowed by Pakistani law.

In his petition, he has stated that limited liability companies were set up in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries to raise funds for the party from overseas Pakistanis living there, in which the proceeds came from illicit sources.

The PTI claims that the party did not receive funds from illicit sources as documents of all funds received from abroad are available.

The PTI has approached the Islamabad High Court six times to stay the hearing of the petition in the ECP and has taken the position that the commission does not have the authority to examine the accounts of any party.

The PTI also filed similar petitions against the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz in the ECP. A special scrutiny committee was set up to look into the matter.

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