Pakistan’s elections monitoring body said it found that the party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan has received millions of dollars in donations from the United States, U.K., UAE and Australia which could be against the law.
Pakistan’s laws do not allow political parties to accept any money from abroad and the revelation could lead to a complete ban of Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) from politics.
However, the PTI claims the funds it received from abroad came from the Pakistani diaspora.
Khan, a former cricket star turned politician, rose to power in 2018 thanks to his anti-corruption rhetoric but was ousted in April 2022 after losing a no-confidence vote.
“PTI could be declared a foreign aided political party and the current government and Khan’s political rivals could ask the Supreme Court to ban Khan and his party,” lawyer Osama Malik told OCCRP.
“The commission is satisfied that the contributions and donations have been received by the respondent party from prohibited sources,” stated the ruling, which was seen by OCCRP. The body also ordered the seizure of the illegal funds received from foreign countries.
The Commission also said that the PTI under Khan had not revealed 13 bank accounts and that the declaration they submitted was “grossly inaccurate.”
The case against the party was filed by PTI’s founding member Akbar S. Khan in 2014 and the much awaited Election Commission verdict was announced last week. However, the announcement also came after the PTI won 15 of the 20 seats that were up for grabs at the local assembly elections in the Punjab province.
The Election Commission’s verdict has been referred to the government so it can be brought in front of the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
“An inquiry has been started by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to probe this illegal funding by Khan’s party,” Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said.
Senior member of Khan’s party, Fawad Chaudhry, told OCCRP that the party is going to challenge the ruling.
“All funds were received from overseas Pakistanis who are patriotic people and we have not done anything wrong,” he said.
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