The foreign funding case concerning the PTI seems to be making headway after back and forth since the last seven years. The ECP has recently released a damning report revealing how the political party provided false information regarding funds, concealed bank accounts, and didn’t disclose large transactions.
Political funding is a contentious topic in Pakistan as parties don’t reveal the source of funds. We also lack a competent ethics committee to investigate whether the funds were given to influence policy decisions. Political parties are prohibited from receiving funding from foreign nationals and companies and could be dissolved for failing to disclose them. The foreign funding case, however, could end the culture of political bribery if it reaches its logical conclusion.
According to the report, the PTI received more than Rs1.64 billion but did not disclose Rs310 million along with hiding several banks accounts. PTI leaders were quick to dismiss the report as ‘inaccurate’ and demanded a comparison with other parties. The report has not explicitly pointed any wrongdoing but discrepancies have raised several questions.
The prime minister has instead welcomed the report, saying the scrutiny will clarify how the PTI is the only party with a proper political fundraising base. The opposition is not convinced, claiming that the revelation has exposed the prime minister and has demanded his resignation. However, the opposition should not rejoice as they could also be in the crosshairs even though there is no incriminating evidence against them for now.
The PTI is in the docks and has resisted providing full details for years. The reports should serve as a wake-up call for the PTI which campaigned on a narrative of transparency and against corruption. The prime minister needs to end the culture of receiving funds from influential quarters as it undermines the democratic process.
The PTI’s demand that accounts of other political parties be audited should be considered. If the opposition parties have nothing to hide, they should also divulge the details before the public. The PTI should not delay the process and set the record straight on its sources of income. This is imperative to end the influence of power donors and strengthen governance.