Akbar Babar questions PTI’s funding by Dubai-based cricket club
Claims scrutiny committee’s report had unmasked party’s foreign bank accounts
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Akbar S. Babar, one of the founders of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and also a petitioner in the party’s foreign funding case, on Thursday claimed that a Dubai-based Woottening Cricket Club had released funds of $2.1 million to the ruling party, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
He said as per law, only a Pakistani could give funds to any political party, and that too only in his or her individual capacity, and there was no provision under which a company could fund a party.
“The question here is, why did a cricket club dish out such a huge sum to the PTI?” he asked.
Quoting from the book of Simon Cork, a former The Wall Street Journal, Babar said that the Woottening Cricket Club was owned by Arif Naqvi and The Abraaj Group. “And if that is true, it will have far more negative repercussions for the PTI,” he said, and added, “This is because Naqvi is facing a case of financial irregularities of $1 billion in New York. And the authorities will not spare him unless they recover each and every penny from him.”
He went on to add that even Naqvi’s partners had become approvers in the case now. “And there is every likelihood that the USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will also probe the case to ascertain as to how the money finally landed in the PTI’s bank accounts,”
Babar said it remained to be seen how much funding was done by the cricket club because these were the details up till 2013, and after that there was a sit-in by the party in 2014 as well. “Only God knows who gave how much money to the PTI during the sit-in,” he wondered.
He further said that Naqvi was also the member of Imran Khan’s economic advisory team. “And when he was arrested, the first contact number he had given to the police was that of PM Imran,” he claimed.
He also claimed that the report compiled by the scrutiny committee of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on PTI’s foreign funding had also proved that the party had foreign bank accounts as well. “I was wondering from the very first day as to why the PTI government was not allowing the committee to work,” Babar said, adding the committee was supposed to finish its task within one month, but it took it three years and nine months to compile the report.
I am amazed, the petitioner added, as to why the committee did not collect all the information required in the case despite the fact that the ECP had given it a free hand to contact any department for the purpose. “Members of the scrutiny committee could have written to the Foreign Office which then would have asked Pakistani embassies abroad to gather more and more information. Had that been done, more foreign accounts of the PTI would have surfaced,” Babar said, adding that the party admitted that money was transferred into the accounts of four ordinary employees, but refused to divulge their details. “The talk of a shortfall of Rs31 million by the PTI leaders is merely a mean to distract the attention of people from the real issue,” he said.
Babar said the reason why he had filed a petition in the ECP was because he wanted to prove that the ruling party had received funds not only from foreign sources but also from the prohibited sources. “We have to establish that the PTI had concealed huge amount of money transferred into its accounts,” the petitioner said, and added, “My auditor has detected the foreign funding of Rs2.2 billion, which I will make the part of my report.”
Commenting on PM Imran Khan’s reaction to the scrutiny committee’s report, Babar said Imran’s statement carried no weight. “This statement of his is similar to that of 35 punctures statement, which he had later laughed off as merely a political one,” he concluded.