The case of foreign funding against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf seems to be getting twists with every passing day. An explosive story featured in the Financial Times, last week, revealed how the PTI accrued funds through cricket matches organised under Wootton Cricket Ltd, a company owned by Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi.
As per the report, Mr Naqvi transferred three instalments directly to the PTI in 2013, adding up to a total of $2.12 million.
Apparently, Mr Naqvi organised a charity fundraiser in the UK during the summer, the ultimate benefactor of which was the PTI. The report claims that fees were paid to Wootton Cricket Ltd, which, despite the name, was in fact a Cayman Islands-incorporated company owned by Naqvi and the money was being used to bankroll the PTI. The emails and internal documents which the Financial Times had access to reveal that both companies and foreign nationals, as well as citizens of Pakistan, sent millions of dollars, including at least £2 million from a United Arab Emirates government minister who is also a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.
The PDM parties had been demanding of the ECP to pronounce the reserved verdict in the foreign funding case specially after the ruling of Dost Muhammad Mazari was overturned by the Supreme Court. The Punjab Assembly on Sunday also passed a resolution against Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and the members of ECP.
The ECP’s investigation into the PTI’s funding sources was triggered back in 2014 when Akbar S Babar, who helped establish the PTI, filed a complaint. The ECP has been investigating this for the past seven years and earlier this year in January, the ECP’s scrutiny committee issued a damning report in which it said the PTI received funding from foreign nationals and companies and accused it of under-reporting funds and concealing dozens of bank accounts. It is interesting to note that while Wootton Cricket was named in the report, Mr Naqvi was not identified as its owner.
Though the PTI is denying receiving any illegal funding but the criticism of PTI leaders against the ECP especially against CEC and the resolution of PA shows that PTI has smelled something and trying to bring ECP under pressure.