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Pakistani Electoral Commission says Imran Khan’s party has accepted illegal donations

#Pakistani #Electoral #Commission #Imran #Khans #party #accepted #illegal #donations

The party of ex-Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has accepted millions of dollars in illegal funds from foreign individuals and groups, the electoral commission ruled on Tuesday.

The case dates back to 2014, when a disgruntled founding member of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) filed a lawsuit against his party leadership, accusing it of financial irregularities.

The Electoral Commission of Pakistan found that Khan’s party had concealed 16 bank accounts and accepted donations from foreigners or foreign groups based in Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and the Cayman Islands.

Pakistani law prohibits political parties from accepting funds and donations from foreign individuals and companies.

The commission also said that the financial details provided by Khan “were found to be grossly inaccurate”.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif – who came to power in April after Khan’s ouster – said the commission’s ruling “shows once again that he (Khan) is a certified liar”.

“(The) nation should consider the impact of its foreign-funded policies,” Sharif said in a tweet on Tuesday.

The party denies the allegations.

In response to the decision, senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said the party accepted funds from “overseas Pakistanis” rather than foreigners.

“Overseas Pakistanis are the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and we would continue to rely on them for funding,” Chaudhry told reporters.

Cricket star-turned-politician Khan came to power in 2018 thanks to an electorate weary of the dynastic politics of the country’s two main parties, with the popular former sports star vowing to eradicate decades of entrenched corruption and nepotism.

But in April he was sacked after a no-confidence vote — partly over his failure to rectify the country’s dire economic situation, including its crippling debt, shrinking foreign exchange reserves and rising inflation.

He also reportedly fell out with the country’s powerful military.

Khan has since staged a series of rallies, claiming he was forced out of office in a “foreign conspiracy” and putting pressure on a coalition of former opposition parties now in power.

A notice has been sent to PTI to explain the prohibited funds or it may challenge the order in court.

The commission, meanwhile, could pursue the seizure of the banned funds, while the government could take the case to the Supreme Court to ban Khan’s PTI party.

However, legal expert Osama Malik said: “Politically, it would not be an ideal precedent for a group of political parties to ban their rivals.”

The commission is also investigating a foreign funding case against two other major political parties – Sharif’s ruling PML-N and her coalition partner Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Both parties dispute the claims.

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