Premier ‘welcomes’ ECP scrutiny of PTI’s funding

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— Says more scrutiny will lead to further factual clarity

—-Demands scrutiny of accounts of PML-N, PPP

By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday has said that he ‘welcomes’ the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) scrutiny of his party the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) funding through donations from overseas Pakistanis.

The premier’s tweet comes a day after a report by the ECP’s scrutiny committee – investigating into the foreign funding of the PTI – on Tuesday unearthed that the party had concealed several accounts and around Rs310 million between 2008 and 2013 from the electoral body.

“The more our accounts are scrutinised the more factual clarity will emerge for [the] nation to see how [the] PTI is the only political party with proper donor base premised on proper political fundraising,” PM Imran stated.

He further said that he “looked forward” to similar scrutiny from the electoral watchdog on funding of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

According to the premier, this will allow the nation to see the “difference” between “proper” political funding and the “extortion of money from crony capitalists and vested interests in exchange for favours at nation’s expense”.

The scrutiny committee formed by the ECP to probe the foreign funding case against PTI found irregularities in the audit reports submitted by the ruling party.

In its report submitted to the election watchdog on Tuesday, the committee said, “as per the opinion of the Chartered Accountant Firms, the statement of Account fairly presents, in all material respects [sic], the cash receipt of PTI for each year mentioned in the table above [present in the report], on the basis of accounting described by the firm in its audit report. However, during the course scrutiny, the committee observed deviations in figures as the same do not reconcile with the bank statements.”

It further disclosed that the party had received $44,000 from 88 foreign donors during this period. The undisclosed accounts have been mentioned in a report by the State Bank of Pakistan. The scrutiny committee has also included its analysis of the bank accounts in the report.