PML-N insists on secrecy of funding details

Opposes handing over funding case record to petitioner


Saqib Virk February 04, 2021
File photo

ISLAMABAD:

Following in the footsteps of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Wednesday also opposed handing its record and details of bank accounts over to petitioner Farrukh Habib in the foreign funding case.

A meeting of the scrutiny committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was held to probe the alleged foreign funding to the PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal and counsel Jahangir Jadoon while petitioner Farrukh Habib and lawyer Rana Afzal appeared before the scrutiny committee.

During the proceedings, the PML-N opposed giving the details of its bank accounts to the PTI. It also objected to handing over the details of the funding done by its members to the party.

The examination panel will decide in the next meeting whether or not to give the details of accounts of the PML-N to the petitioner.

Meanwhile, the proceedings on the foreign funding case pertaining to the PPP could not be held.

The examination panel will review the bank accounts of the PPP in the next meeting.

Later, speaking to media, Iqbal said the ECP had been asking the PTI to present proofs against the PML-N for the last three months but the party had been unable to do so. He asked the ruling party to come up with evidence if it had any against the PML-N.

Petitioner Habib questioned why was the PML-N scared of presenting its record to the PTI. He challenged Bilawal Bhutto and Maryam Nawaz to have a debate with him on TV on the foreign funding case.

Habib said the PML-N counsel today admitted that they had taken funding from Osama Bin Laden and added that the party’s members will be disqualified if they did not declare the donation in their tax returns.

He said the PML-N and PPP had shown one account each before the scrutiny committee but according to the State Bank of Pakistan’s record, both the parties had several accounts.

The PTI lawmaker further maintained that the PML-N could not give details of 100 people from whom they had taken money whereas the ruling party had provided details of its 40,000 donors.

Ruling party’s Farrukh Habib had approached the ECP in October 2017 to seek scrutiny of the funding record of both the parties for years 2013-2015.

In two separate applications, the petitioner maintained that the PML-N and PPP had concealed their sources of funds and companies registered by them in the UK and the USA, respectively, and sought cancellation of election symbols allocated to them “for their failure to meet legal requirements for eligibility to obtain the symbols”.

The complaint against the PML-N noted that the party in its accounts had relied on audit by non-quality control review-rated firms, which adopted a “wrong” procedure for reporting.

Meanwhile, the complaint against the PPP observed that the account statements of the party between 2009 and 2012 were not available either due to non-filing or for reasons better known to the party.

The complaint questioned the party’s source of funds stating that the accounts of 2013 started with an opening balance of Rs41.47 million from the previous years, however, where the amount of the opening balance was generated from was not disclosed.

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