Confiscate “prohibited” funding, says Babar’s lawyer

ISLAMABAD:

The Chief Election Commissioner conducted the hearing of the foreign funding case of Pakistan’s ruling party Tehreek-e-Insaf on Thursday, in which the petitioner’s lawyer presented his arguments.

The hearing was held at the headquarters of the Electoral Commission.

Beginning his arguments, Akbar S Babar’s attorney, Ahmed Hassan, said the money from the undisclosed accounts had gone into the disclosed accounts of PTI.

The CEC said moving money from disclosed accounts can be an important consideration, but money from undisclosed accounts to disclosed accounts is not a major thing.

Attorney Hassan said the review board did not do its job well.

“If PTI could not account, then all the money should be confiscated,” the petitioner said, adding that according to the law, “no Pakistani can get funding from his foreign company.”

PTI Solicitor Anwar Mansoor said the case of petitioner Akbar S Babar is pending in the High Court adding that the court granted the request for a hearing and set it for Friday (today) .

ECP Balochistan member Shah Muhammad Jatoi replied that they are aware of the High Court order.

Lawyer Hassan said the PTI had received funding from 349 foreign companies while the oversight committee declared several people as “apparently” Pakistani.

“It is difficult to understand what ‘apparently’ Pakistani means…whether there is a Pakistani or not has not been clarified,” the lawyer said. “It is also unclear who gave 250 million rupees in cash to the PTI.”

According to the PTI, he said, he received $1.6 million in funds from within the country.

Read Vote of no confidence on April 3

The CEC replied that even at weddings these days, dollars are thrown around instead of rupees.

Lawyer Hassan said, “If you know of such a wedding, definitely tell me, I want to go too.”

He added that Arif Naqvi’s Wooden Cricket Limited Company, which is a Dubai-based company, donated $2.1 million to PTI.

“The names of those who sent money from abroad have not been disclosed,” he said, adding that there was no policy in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. .

He added that political money from Arab countries cannot pass through banks, but that all money comes from banks and is paid into party accounts.

“What’s wrong with sending people from Australia, Norway or any other country?” asked the CEC. “If the party collects money and sends it to Pakistan, what’s wrong with that?

Lawyer Hassan replied: “There should also be details of the donors. A political party is obliged to disclose the sources of income.

He said all money from businesses is prohibited and should be confiscated.

PTI attorney Mansoor said, “Fundraising cannot take place in the United States without setting up an LLC.”

Lawyer Hassan said: “The PTI did not recognize an account managed by (National Assembly Speaker) Asad Qaiser.”

He also claimed that an Indian woman named Rohta Shetty funded the PTI from Singapore.

“Foreigners wouldn’t mind if they met Shaukat Khatam,” attorney Hassan said.

“Imran Khan handed over a certificate to the electoral commission stating that he did not accept illicit financing.”

He argued that the “prohibited” funding should be confiscation and the issuer of the certificate should be disqualified.

PTI lawyer Mansoor will begin his closing arguments on April 13.

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