Home Imran Khan ‘Desperate’ Shehbaz asks CEC to punish Imran in funding case

‘Desperate’ Shehbaz asks CEC to punish Imran in funding case

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to announce its “long-delayed judgment” in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) prohibited funding case.

He claimed that the “impunity given to him has hurt the country.”

The case, previously known as the ‘foreign funding case’, was opened in March 2018, while the ECP has reserved its judgment since June 2022.

Akbar S Babar, a founding but estranged leader of the PTI, filed the case on November 14, 2014, after he developed differences with the party chief over internal corruption and abuse of laws governing political funding.

The petitioner alleged that nearly $3 million in illegal foreign funds were collected through two offshore companies, registered under Imran’s signature and that the money was sent through illegal ‘hundi’ channels from the Middle East to accounts of PTI employees.

He also alleged that the foreign accounts used to collect funds were concealed from the annual audit reports submitted to the ECP.

A special committee was formed in March 2018 to investigate the matter. Two officers from the director-general law wing and auditor general office of ECP were included in the committee.

On June 21, 2022, the electoral watchdog announced it had finally completed the hearing of the foreign funding case, after long eight years, and reserved its verdict.

The case was heard over 95 times in the commission, while its scrutiny committee held 96 sessions.

During the hearing, petitioner Akbar S Babar said he was grateful that the commission had given him the opportunity to view all the records.

“This is the best opportunity to hold political parties accountable,” he added.

On the occasion, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja said democracy was most important for the country and it needed to be strengthened.

He added that it was necessary to restore the confidence of the voters and the ECP would ensure that everyone received justice.

The CEC expressed his gratitude to both the parties, saying that he had learned much from them.

“Soon the cases of other [political] parties will also be finalised. We will ensure that no one is discriminated against,” he added.

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