I challenge to broadcast foreign funding case hearings live: PM Imran

Says hearings should be held in presence of leaders of political parties


Our Correspondent January 20, 2021

SOUTH WAZIRISTAN:

Commenting on the much-hyped foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday challenged for the case's hearings to be broadcasted live on television.

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

The premier further challenged that it was only the PTI that raised political funds.

"The country runs on remittances sent by overseas Pakistanis," PM Imran said, adding that they also helped him with funds for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.

Speaking of the opposition's foreign funding sources, he stated that "these parties [opposition] 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]."

Also read: PTI paying price of wrong strategy

The prime minister thanked the opposition for raising the foreign funding case, adding that it should be noted where the funding of the PTI and opposition parties has been coming from.

"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 on Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam - Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the premier said he used children enroled at his seminaries to blackmail the government.

He questioned where Fazl's property - worth billions of rupees - came from, adding that the JUI-F chief was blackmailing the government for a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).

The premier further highlighted that Pakistan's economic indicators were better than other countries, despite Covid-19. "Despite the economic downturn and Covid-19, our economic indicators are better than other countries," he observed.

Also read: All parties in parliament issued notices in party funding case

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

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.

The 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 the 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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