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No law prohibits political parties to receive funds from overseas Pakistanis: Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) decision against PTI in the foreign funding case is not right as no law prohibits political parties to collect money from overseas Pakistanis.

He was addressing his party workers and supporters, protesting against ECP and CEC in F9 park Islamabad and other cities, via video link.

He alleged that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has been turned into a tool to make-or-break governments by its forged results.

Khan lambasted the federal government for turning Islamabad into a fortress ahead of their protest originally scheduled outside the headquarters of the ECP.

He asked the government why it feared a ‘peaceful’ protest so much.

Raising question on impartiality of the top poll body, the ex-PM criticized PML-N leaders met with the ECP officials ahead of the foreign funding verdict against PTI.

Imran Khan said the voting turnout in the country was poor as people believe that their votes would not make any difference. The real democracy will come only when a man sitting in a village knows that he can change the government through his vote, he added.

PTI chairman said when he launched the party, he had no funds to run it.

He added that overseas Pakistanis were the first to support him as they had seen the actual democratic systems abroad, and they could see two mafias (PPP and PML-N) hijacking the country.

Imran Khan said PTI is the only political party in Pakistan which raises funds from public just like it happens in other parts of the world.

He said that PTI has a donor base of 40,000 donors while claiming PPP and PML-N had no donors at all.

He added that funds sent by Pakistanis living abroad were declared as foreign funding by the ECP.

PTI chairman said that it was important to get registered in the US as a LLC for fundraising or else people will not give funds to a non-registered entity.

He played videos of different overseas Pakistanis who donated to PTI and showed reservations on ECP’s decision declaring them non-nationals.

Diverting his talk to Arif Naqvi, he said that the fraud charges on him were framed in 2018 while PTI received funding from him in 2012.

He stated that the law prohibiting funding from a foreign firm came into existence in 2017.

Explaining the difference between an affidavit and certificate, he said that affidavit was one which Shehbaz Sharif had submitted in the court to allow Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for treatment.

He added that a certificate – he signed and submitted to the ECP – was a declaration on the basis of details shared by the finance experts as he could not personally count such huge amounts of money and ultimately had to rely on the experts who had examined the records.

“They now want to disqualify Imran Khan,” he said and added that ‘minions of Satan’ are rejoicing the decision of ECP as they believe it has given them a window to remove Imran Khan.

Why the ECP has turned a blind eye to the fact that 60% of the federal cabinet is on bail and why it didn’t disqualify them, he remarked aggressively.

There are money laundering cases on Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz, why they were allowed to run in the election and not disqualified; he went on to say.

He said that the handlers of the incumbent government have brought the country to risky stage to satisfy their egos.

Explaining the meaning of foreign funding Khan said that no law prohibits political parties to collect money from overseas Pakistanis. “PTI collected money from companies in 2017 and the law prohibiting this action was formulated in 2017; therefore, no law has been violated,” he said, adding that this is not foreign funding.

The former prime minister said that it is a constitutional right of everybody to protest, and “we [PTI] has always tried to protest with the constitution and the law.”

Regarding PTI’s rule, Khan said that when the party came into power, it was given a terrible economy and then the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

“Our government managed both difficult situations successfully,” he said, lamenting that despite the efforts, the PTI’s government was removed from power through a controversy.

Khan went on to say that they [coalition parties] thought that the PTI was finished because of their “conspiracy” in the wake of the no-confidence motion.

“However, they were mistaken because people took to the streets on May 25. I will never forget the massive turnout of PTI supporters,” he said, recalling that the coalition government made all efforts to stop them by inducing fear in them.

Meanwhile, PTI on Thursday staged a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and demanded the resignations of the members of the election body including Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja.

The PTI Senators, MNAs, and other party leaders including Asad Umar, Omar Ayub, and Sheikh Rasheed marched toward the ECP office in Islamabad and chanted slogans against the incumbent CEC who they termed as biased toward the party.

“We have come here to submit charter of demands to the commission,” Asad Umar said, demanding that the members of the ECP should resign to uphold the supremacy of law and the Constitution.
He demanded that the political instability should be ended through restructuring the incumbent ECP.

The party leaders were stopped by law enforcers initially to march towards the ECP office; however, they were later allowed to go to the gate and submit an MoU, demanding the resignation of CEC and other ECP members to a representative of the commission.

They submitted charter of demands to the ECP official and resolutions of the two provincial assemblies, demanding removal of the CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja.

 

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