Two PTI leaders accused of misusing $2m party donations for ‘anti-state propaganda’

Sajjad Burki, Atif Khan accused of engaging in propaganda campaign against Pakistan's armed forces on social media

APP March 23, 2024


In a startling revelation, two prominent leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the United States have been accused of misappropriating party funds worth $2 million and orchestrating a campaign against Pakistan and its institutions.

According to a report published in the America Daily Post, sourced from an Islamabad-based news website, PTI United States head and adviser to Imran Khan, Sajjad Burki, purportedly received a staggering $1.8 million in donations. Shockingly, only a fraction, a mere $30,000, was reportedly remitted back to Pakistan.

Under the lens of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Exhibit, it was revealed that Pakistani-American supporters of PTI engaged lobbying firms for 45 days, specifically from January 16 to March 1, 2024. The aim allegedly was to influence the 2024 general elections in Pakistan and conduct a smear campaign against the country's armed forces.

The report further implicates Burki, indicating that he established a PTI company shortly after Imran Khan assumed office as prime minister in 2018. The document lists Umer Khan as the manager with a specified address in Houston, Texas.

Sources within PTI, both in the US and Pakistan, allege that over the past two years, Sajjad Burki and Atif Khan received substantial donations from influential Pakistani Americans and US businessmen, purportedly in the name of Imran Khan. However, none of these donations have been declared or transferred to Pakistan. The lack of transparency has raised serious concerns within the party.

Also read: FIA initiates inquiry against Aleema Khan for 'anti-state' speech

It's claimed that Burki utilised a limited liability company, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf USA LIC, to solicit donations for PTI. These donations, made through various websites, allegedly never underwent an audit and mostly ended up in personal accounts.

The party workers remain wary of questioning Burki because he is close to Aleema Khan and Imran Khan, said the PTI insider. 

A high-ranking PTI leader, now also a Member of the National Assembly (MNA), disclosed that a significant portion of the funds collected in the US remained within the personal coffers of the accused leaders.

Moreover, Sajjad Burki and Atif Khan are accused of engaging in a propaganda campaign against Pakistan's armed forces, utilising social media platforms and liaising with US politicians. Allegations suggest their activities escalated following the fall of Imran Khan's government.

Recent tweets by the accused leaders reveal a systematic effort to discredit Pakistan's institutions and incite violence. Atif Khan, for instance, shared a video encouraging unrest, while Burki collaborated with US lawmakers to cast doubt on Pakistan's electoral process.

The report also sheds light on PTI's engagement with lobbying firms, purportedly to pressure Pakistani authorities and close legal cases against Imran Khan. Concerns have been raised over the potential involvement of foreign intelligence services in these lobbying efforts.

More recently, PTI leaders are now disassociating with social media influencers Adil Raja and Haider Mehdi after their links with foreign intelligence services came to light.

PTI has significant penetration in the Pakistani expat community of North Americans. They also provide funding for lobbying efforts but the community without knowing their money was being used for personal projection.

The PTI insiders said this approach is detrimental for both Pakistan and PTI. The effect of this external lobbying is evident into a stringent scrutiny of Pakistan’s electoral process through unusually harsh statements by many countries (as compared to Bangladesh and Egypt) along with one-sided debate in many media spaces, thus putting legitimacy of Pakistan’s political dispensation into question.

It is now clear that those PTI affiliated scammers who worked internationally against the interests of Pakistan were primarily motivated by financial compensation in terms of stolen donations, rather than any ideological considerations.


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