ISLAMABAD: Insaf’s financial expert admitted before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Thursday that the party had only disclosed to the commission the bank branches where its accounts were managed and not the entire number of accounts in their yearly reports.
The PTI continued its last technical arguments before the three-member ECP bench, led by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja. The PTI financial expert noted that the 11 bank accounts disowned by the PTI on March 15, 2022, which the party owned throughout the four years the scrutiny committee scrutinised the accounts, were actually provincial accounts where money from the central accounts was transferred to run the party’s affairs in the respective provinces.
According to the PTI analyst, all cash received from overseas were deposited in the disclosed accounts because all records are preserved in the central finance division. The bench was informed that the Election Commission had received all necessary records.
It is worth noting that the 11 PTI accounts that it has disowned were discovered in a written response given to the ECP on March 15, 2012. According to page 92 of the ECP Scrutiny Committee Report, the PTI disclosed just two bank accounts in each of the annual audit reports for fiscal years 2008 to 2012, and four in 2013.
In contrast, records from the State Bank of Pakistan indicated that the PTI reportedly disguised five accounts in 2008, seven in 2009, thirteen in 2010, fourteen in 2011, and fourteen in 2012-13. The PTI repudiated 11 of its accounts in its written response to the ECP on March 15, 2022, claiming that the accounts came to the PTI’s knowledge and information after the State Bank of Pakistan disclosed them in 2018. The PTI also claimed that anyone who opened, operated, or received donations in these accounts did so without authority “because these individuals were not authorised by competent authority to open these bank accounts,” and that the “bank accounts were operated without the knowledge of the PTI finance department.” The party also chose to avoid the millions of rupees and dollars received and transacted in these accounts from Pakistan and elsewhere, despite having no knowledge of these accounts.
When the PTI financial expert finished his arguments for the day, PTI lawyer Anwar Mansoor Khan requested adjournment until the first week of June because he was travelling to Switzerland, and the CEC agreed because the PTI lawyer insisted on being present while the financial expert made his final arguments.
After the hearing, the petitioner, Akbar S Babar, told reporters outside the ECP that there is documented proof refuting the PTI’s allegation that the 11 accounts it disowned were formed and run without the knowledge of the PTI financial department. He also questioned why no action had been taken against high PTI leadership if such accounts were formed and handled illegally.
According to the documents, the PTI central finance board not only managed two of these accounts, but the PTI central finance secretary at the time, Sardar Azhar Tariq Khan, communicated with the managers of the PTI accounts in 2012, informing them about the PTI central finance board’s operating instructions.
Babar bemoaned the delay, describing it as an ongoing process that has lasted eight years, and stated that the historic delay in the foreign financing case is due to allegedly undue pandering of the accused by constitutional organisations.