August 8, 2022

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Imran Khan’s party accused of illegal funding by Pakistan electoral probe

2 min read

Pakistan’s election commission on Tuesday said Imran Khan’s political party had received funds from overseas-based individuals and companies in violation of the country’s laws.

At least 34 foreign nationals were named in a report produced by the Election Commission of Pakistan for having illegally funded the former prime minister’s party — Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf, or PTI.

Arif Naqvi, a Pakistani tycoon whose financial backing for Khan was detailed in a recent Financial Times investigation, was also cited in the ruling. Naqvi’s Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Group collapsed in 2019, leading to closer scrutiny of his close ties to influential Pakistanis.

The commission’s findings come as Khan’s PTI has been gaining ground against prime minister Shehbaz Sharif’s ruling coalition. They add to the country’s unstable politics and economic problems, including rising inflation.

The PTI kept 13 of its bank accounts “hidden” from authorities, according to the commission. In addition companies in Canada, the US, Australia and the United Arab Emirates contributed to the PTI in violation of Pakistani laws, according to the report. Funding of political parties by companies or foreign nationals is forbidden in Pakistan.

An FT investigation found that Naqvi used a charity cricket tournament to facilitate donations to Khan’s party from his Dubai-based private equity group Abraaj and a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family. Khan has denied wrongdoing.

The electoral body has now summoned Khan’s party to make its case before making a decision on its future. PTI leaders on Tuesday promised to fight back and appeal against any decision against it before Pakistan’s supreme court.

Akbar S Babar, a PTI founding member who fell out with Khan and subsequently complained to the electoral commission in 2014 about the lack of transparency in the party’s records of funds from foreign sources, on Tuesday called for the former prime minister to step…

2022-08-02 09:40:05

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