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PTI insists all accounts ‘legal’, Sheikh Rasheed demands CEC’s resignation

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday rejected the ruling of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that PTI received prohibited funding. Meanwhile, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed has demanded CEC Sikander Sikandar Sultan Raja’s resignation.

Earlier, the ECP, in a unanimous verdict, said the commission found that 34 foreign donations were taken in fundraising. The donations were taken from America, Australia, Canada, and the UAE.

Speaking to the media after the verdict was announced, PTI’s Fawad Chaudhry said that most of the money was from overseas Pakistanis.

“I don’t understand why PML-N, JUI and PPP have declared overseas Pakistanis as the enemy. We consider overseas Pakistanis to be the backbone of Pakistan’s economy and we will continue to rely on them for our funding,” he said.

Commenting on the case, the PTI leader said that this was never a case of “foreign funding” and this had been proven with the ECP’s decision. He went on to say that the accounts that were supposedly undeclared were not directly linked with the PTI chief.

In the next phase, the PTI will prove that the 16 accounts are legal, adding that these accounts are “subsidiary accounts,” Chaudhry said.

The ex-minister said that the people deserved to know where political parties received their funding from. “No party, including the PTI, has the right to hide its funding from the people.”

You decided the PTI’s case and now we expect that you will bring to light other parties’ funding so that the people know that the law is being followed, he said.

He demanded of the election body to announce its verdict in the funding case against PPP and PML-N after the PTI.

In a tweet later, the PTI leader said that since the Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and ECP members have “weak” legal backgrounds, they failed to “differentiate between an affidavit and certificate”.

“Imran Khan submitted certificate on audited accounts, this is not a case of Mis-declaration,” the former information and law minister said.

Speaking during the press conference before Chaudhry, PTI Central Deputy Secretary Information Farrukh Habib said that foreign funding was “not proved against the party”.

“The verdict disappointed those who were pushing the narrative of foreign funding against the PTI,” said Habib.

He said that the PTI was of the view from day one that the case was related to prohibited funding and not foreign funding.

Meanwhile, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed said that today’s decision would not lead to a crisis that would not be manageable. He asked Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to voluntary resign from his post — a demand that the PTI and its allies have been making for months now.

Rasheed said he was “ready to say this on oath” that parties received funding from “Osama Bin Laden”.

“The law should be the same for all parties,” the former interior minister, a staunch ally of Khan, said while terming the Constitution of Pakistan “a nose of wax”.

The AML chief, stressing that no major political turn will occur as a result of the order, said that no matter what the government tries to do, it will not be able to harm the PTI chairman.

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