Pakistan’s Election Agency Says Imran Khan’s Party Obtained Illegal Funds


Islamabad, Pakistan
Reuters

Pakistan’s Election Commission decided on Tuesday that of former Prime Minister Imran Khan political party has received millions of dollars in illegal funds from foreign countries, including the United States, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Australia.

The decision could lead to the banning of Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, which rose to prominence through an anti-corruption campaign.

Khan, who analysts said had fallen out with military powers over the appointment of a spy chief ahead of his ousting earlier this year, was not immediately available for comment. A spokesperson for the PTI party denied any wrongdoing.

The committee’s decision is a major setback for the former cricketer star who is campaigning against the new government.

The case, filed in 2014 by PTI founding member Akbar S. Khan, accused the party of receiving illegal funds from abroad.

“The commission is satisfied that the contributions and donations were received by the defendant from prohibited sources,” said the ruling, which was seen by Reuters.

The committee said the party also concealed 13 accounts, adding that the statement submitted to the committee on the party’s finances by Khan as chairman from 2008 to 2013 was “very grossly inaccurate”.

He said the PTI had received funds from different people and companies overseas, including business tycoon Arif Naqvi, owner of a Dubai-based equity group, who is among several people charged by prosecutors. Americans to be part of an international scheme to defraud investors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Naqvi denied the charges.

The commission said the party was a “voluntary recipient of prohibited money” in the amount of $2.1 million from Naqvi’s Wootton Cricket Limited, which is registered in the Cayman Islands.

He also identified several other foreign accounts in the United States, Britain, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Switzerland and other countries, which transacted on Khan’s party accounts. .

The election commission’s decision has been forwarded to the Pakistani government, which may ask the Supreme Court to ban Khan and his party from politics, legal experts say. The court ordered the commission in 2017 to review the party’s accounts.

“We will challenge this decision,” Khan’s party spokesman Fawad Chaudhry told reporters. He said the funds came from Pakistani nationals living abroad, which is not illegal.

Khan served as prime minister from 2018 until April this year, when he was forced to resign after losing a vote of confidence which he said was the result of a American conspiracy. The United States denied this.

Since then, he has been mobilizing his supporters to press his demand for a new election. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif rejected this request.

“This is a clear case of fraud,” said Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, leader of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League party.