August 10, 2022
Pakistani politicians urged to issue probe into donations to Imran Khan’s party

Pakistani politicians called on election officials over the weekend to issue an investigation into former prime minister Imran Khan’s party after the Financial Times reported it allegedly receiving banned donations from foreign nationals and companies.

An FT article alleged that Pakistani tycoon Arif Naqvi used a charity cricket tournament to facilitate donations from Dubai-based private equity group Abraj and a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family to Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party. did.

Pakistan prohibits foreign nationals and companies from funding political parties.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif criticized Khan, while senior leaders of his Pakistan Muslim League (N) party asked the Election Commission of Pakistan to issue a year-long probe into PTI’s funding. Sharif replaced Khan in April after the former cricketer, who was elected prime minister in 2018, was ousted in a no-confidence vote.

“I urge Imran Khan to file a defamation case against the Financial Times for publishing an accusatory article,” Sharif wrote. on twitter, “If he doesn’t and I’m sure he won’t, it will prove once again how brazenly he is lying and deceiving the people of Pakistan.”

The controversy over PTI’s alleged foreign funding comes as Khan rides on a wave of popular anger over Pakistan’s economic crisis to try to hold early elections. PTI won crucial local elections in Punjab this month, adding to Khan’s political momentum, but PML-N leaders used allegations of foreign funding to try to discredit him.

PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said, “We have requested the Election Commission that it is your constitutional responsibility to come up with this report and act accordingly.” Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, It is the responsibility of the Election Commission to decide the matter at the earliest.

on one Press conference PTI on Friday denied any wrongdoing, saying the donations received by him have been accounted for and recorded. Khan told the FT that “it would not be appropriate to pre-schedule PTI” before the outcome of the EC’s inquiry.

Naqvi was arrested in the UK in 2019 and is facing extradition to the US, which has charged him with fraud, theft and attempted bribery.

The tycoon hosted charity cricket tournaments at his country estate in Wootton, Oxfordshire in the UK, between 2010 and 2012. The funds provided to Wooton Cricket Limited, a Cayman Islands-incorporated company owned by Naqvi, were eventually transferred to PTI.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al-Nahyan, minister of the UAE government and Abu Dhabi royal, donated at least $2 million.

The FT also reported that in 2016 Naqvi had allegedly authorized a $20 million payment for Shehbaz and his brother Nawaz Sharif, who had served as prime minister before the Supreme Court of Pakistan, for corruption. Was fired on the charges. The brothers denied being aware of the matter.

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