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ECP committee conceals pTI foreign funding details in violation of law

Report’s enclosures section states that “Documents Requisitioned by the Commission through State Bank of Pakistan-Bank Statements (Book 1 to 8)” have been kept confidential and were not part of the report provided to the petitioner, Akbar S Babar, on Jan 4.

ISLAMABAD: Violating the law of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), the scrutiny committee of the ECP has deliberately concealed important bank accounts details of the PTI mentioned in the eight volumes of the report pertaining to the foreign funding case.

According to available information, the documents concealed by the ECP’s committee involve original 28 bank statements and year-wise details of foreign funds which were transferred to the PTI’s accounts from 2009 to 2013.

The crucial evidence of foreign funding was kept secret as per the committee’s own aspirations stated on page 83 of its report wherein it said, “the Committee is of the considered opinion that the portions of the Report which have been prepared on the basis of (PTI) Bank Statements obtained through State Bank of Pakistan may be kept confidential and classified and may not be released in public domain”.

Report’s enclosures section states that “Documents Requisitioned by the Commission through State Bank of Pakistan-Bank Statements (Book 1 to 8)” have been kept confidential and were not part of the report provided to the petitioner, Akbar S Babar, on Jan 4.

Meanwhile, according to Dawn.com, the committee’s decision to keep confidential the PTI’s financial documents and bank statements is apparently in violation of the Election Commission of Pakistan’s (ECP) own May 30, 2018 order that stated that “record being scrutinised is a public document, the copies whereof can be obtained by anyone”.

The ECP also passed a similar order on April 14, 2021 stating that “when the matter (Foreign Funding Case) will come before the Commission, at that time all the parties can take copies or peruse the documents”.

The committee’s report recalls that in order to bridge the information gap, the committee, with the approval of the ECP, requested the SBP to provide details pertaining to the bank accounts being operated by the PTI within the country from 2009 to 2013.

“The purpose of the Committee was to analyse the information and details received from the State Bank of Pakistan and draw a clear picture on the accounts of PTI on the basis of credible, authentic and verifiable information.”

Further in the report, the committee says it decided that the data emanating from the documents provided by the petitioner and the respondent will be reflected in a non-classified portion of the report, while data obtained by it from the SBP on its own accord will be reported in a classified section so that laws, rules and procedures governing confidentiality of the bank accounts and banking information are not violated.

It also says that the committee decided that the bank statements, which it requisitioned from banks through the SBP, will not be provided for perusal.

The document also states that the scrutiny committee was directed to examine all the records (documents submitted by the petitioner, respondent and records procured by the committee from other sources), evaluate the evidence from the documents and form a definite opinion and then submit its detailed, fact-finding, comprehensive, proper, substantial report to the ECP till the end of May 2021.

On the issue of the PTI’s employee accounts, it states the petitioner, during the course of the perusal, raised the issue of requisitioning of the information related to personal accounts of PTI employees from the SBP, who were allowed to receive in their personal accounts the donations/contributions sent from abroad and Pakistan by the party’s finance committee.

The ECP scrutiny committee’s report also mentions an application submitted by the petitioner’s counsel containing a copy of the newspaper’s report mentioning a statement of PTI’s Central Finance Secretary Siraj Ahmed for requisitioning bank statements of the four employees who were authorised by the its central finance board to receive donations from within Pakistan and abroad.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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