Did the PTI top leadership lie to the Election Commission of Pakistan during the investigation into the foreign funding case and withhold information about 13 bank accounts from them? The top leadership may have lied to the Election Commission while fully aware of these accounts, according to the party’s official documents.
Imran Khan, the chairman of the PTI, continuously submitted Form-I to the Election Commission for five years (from 2008 to 2013), attesting that the information [presented before the ECP] was accurate and that no funds were received by the party from sources that are prohibited by the Political Parties Order 2002.
The PTI was forced to disown the 13 bank accounts because it concealed them and did not declare them to the ECP. After the scrutiny committee obtained bank records for these accounts from the State Bank of Pakistan, they were only then disclosed to the ECP. It’s interesting to note that while the PTI leadership and the party’s finance secretary represented the PTI in the scrutiny committee, they authorised and operated those accounts while lying to the ECP about who the owners were.
Legal professionals claim that because the PTI hid and did not declare the accounts, they would be considered illegal funding under the law. According to documents obtained by The News, the PTI chairman lied to the ECP about the 13 bank accounts that the party’s senior leaders and office holders were using not just once, but continuously for five years.
13 bank accounts were disowned by the PTI during the ECP’s investigation of the foreign funding case, despite what the party’s official documents appear to show. These accounts were not only known to the PTI’s top leadership; all of the signatories on some of these accounts were chosen by resolutions of the party’s central finance board. According to the ECP decision in the PTI foreign funding case, Imran Khan personally opened two of these accounts.
The PTI’s top leadership was not only aware of some of these accounts at some point in time, according to the resolutions adopted by the finance board, but some of them also had their signatures on them. These top leaders included the party’s secretary general at the time as well as other senior figures like Asad Qaiser, Imran Ismail, Atif Khan, and others.
According to documents, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s central finance board met on December 2, 2012, and at that meeting, it was decided to appoint Mohammad Saleem Jan, Khalid Masood, Zafarullah Khan Khattak, and Engr. Hamidul Haq as signatories to an existing account at KASB Bank Limited in Peshawar Cantt. On the same day, a similar resolution was approved designating these four people as signatories to the party’s HBL Peshawar bank account.
The HBL Peshawar general manager was notified of the change in account signatories on December 4, 2012, following the finance board’s decision. This notification states that Asad Qaiser, Atif Khan, and two other party office-bearers were no longer authorised to sign on for this account. Mohammad Saleem Jan, Khalid Masood, Zafarullah Khan Khattak, and Engr. Hamidul Haq were listed as the new signatories for the party bank account in the notification. Contrary to these facts, the PTI leadership falsely claimed in its written response to the ECP that these accounts were unauthorised and that the PTI’s finance department was unaware of them.
The documents unequivocally show that the finance board was not only aware of these accounts but had also appointed and removed the signatories of these accounts, which runs counter to the PTI finance department’s assertion.
On March 28, 2022, this reporter got in touch with a minimum of four PTI leaders—Muhammad Saleem Jan, Samar Ali Khan, Jahangir Rehman, and Najeeb Haroon—who had previously signed on to some of the bank accounts that the party had previously disowned in front of the ECP scrutiny committee. All four of these people gave The News their word that the PTI leadership was aware of these accounts. They claimed that these accounts were set up and used to manage the party’s daily operations. Despite this, the PTI submitted a statement to the ECP from Imran Khan, the party’s leader, stating that everything was true to the best of his knowledge.
Political experts predict trouble for Imran Khan if these resolutions are presented as evidence during the trial and it is established that the party leadership was aware of these accounts.
In the meantime, Fawad claimed during a press conference in Islamabad that the PTI was accused of hiding 16 bank accounts. He claimed that everything the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) needed to know about these accounts was included in the documents that were submitted to the commission.
He claimed that money was transferred from the PTI’s main account to the bank accounts opened in the names of PTI leaders Imran Ismail and Asad Qaiser. According to Fawad, funding arrived in 2012. He said that the party had to open subsidiary bank accounts when the nation went to the elections in 2013 and in order to pay for election expenditures.
Fawad explained the accounting process by saying, “If there is Rs0.5 million in my account and it moves to account B, the accountant would not count the B account since in that scenario the sum will double, meaning Rs1 million. The amount that was really transferred to the account was Rs. 0.5 million, not Rs.
According to Fawad, money entered the PTI’s primary account and was disclosed. He said that money was moved from the primary account to the subsidiary accounts. According to Fawad, who went on to provide more clarification, if Rs 1 billion entered the main account and subsequently moved to the subsidiary accounts, it would be counted as Rs 2, but accountants only take the main account into consideration since the subsidiary accounts are disclosed along with it.