LAHORE: Asif Nazar aka DJ Butt, who rose to fame during the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s dharna in Islamabad last year, continues to press his claim to millions owed to him by the party. PTI officials, on the other hand, say they were overcharged and are now considering legal recourse in the matter.
A few weeks back, Nazar publicly lambasted the party saying they owed him payment for services including background music which later became a trademark of PTI’s protest in Islamabad. He says he has the evidence to substantiate his claims and will require two weeks to produce necessary documents. He has also reached out to the PTI’s central leadership to address the issue of the payment. Nazar says the party’s central leadership had promised to clear outstanding dues.
Read: PTI treated me like a football: DJ Butt
Former PTI Lahore senior vice president Shoaib Siddiqi, also a member of a fact finding committee on the matter, says the PTI is looking to take legal action against Nazar.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Siddiqi said the fact finding committee was constituted by the party’s central finance board to investigate Nazar’s claims. The three-member committee includes Yaqoob Izhar, Aleem Khan and Siddiqi.
Siddiq says the committee had submitted a report to the central finance board three months ago which said that Nazar had been paid Rs59 million. He said an independent survey of prices of the equipment and services provided revealed that the cost amounted somewhere around Rs41 million – around Rs18 million less than what the party had paid Nazar.
Read: DJ Butt threatens to take PTI to court
Siddiqi says the committee then asked Nazar to present the receipts of vendors, who Nazar said he had to pay for the equipment used during the sit-in. “He kept telling us that he owed money to various vendors so we asked him to bring us the receipts.” Siddiqi says Nazar was yet to produce the receipts despite several reminders.
The PTI has been consulting with its legal team to deliberate on the matter, Siddiqi says. Contents of the report have been made public and once Nazar produces the bills, the party will take the matter to court, he says. “If any discrepancy is proven, he will be asked to return the money to the PTI.”
Amid the brewing controversy, the Punjab Revenue Authority served Nazar a tax notice of Rs17 million and summoned him to a hearing on July 23. He has been charged with providing event management services from August to December last year without registering himself with the PRA or paying sales tax.
Nazar says that he is working on gathering documents which he will present before the PTI and the PRA. Nazar says he was initially asked by the party to provide details of expenses under various heads, which he did six months ago. However, he says, there were delays in payment and after he pursued the matter, he was asked to provide receipts of vendors whose services and equipment he had used. “It was all haphazard during the dharna,” he says. “We used a whole lot of services for which receipts were not issued.” Nazar says his team is now working on compiling evidence to substantiate his claims.
Read: PTI refutes DJ Butt’s non-payment claims
He says he received an email from Siddiqi on Sunday night asking for vendor receipts. He said he would need two weeks for it.
“The dharna was a long drawn event and we will need time to compile details of expenditure incurred.” For four months, Nazar says, he provided sound system, lighting, screens and generators to the PTI. The total bill, he says, had exceeded Rs140 million, of which, Rs120 million was owed to various vendors, while Rs20 million was the rent for 100 speakers used during the dharna. Nazar says he has been paid Rs59 million so far.
He says he has been told that the issue will be taken up during the central finance board’s next meeting scheduled for July 15. Nazar says he is hopeful that they will decide in his favour.
Nazar says he is also in contact with lawyers regarding the hearing before the PRA. He says he is a PTI worker and hopes the matter will be resolved soon. “It is my party and will remain so. I have worked for the party and have remained loyal to it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2015.