ISLAMABAD: One single aspect of different foreign funding allegations against Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf appears serious even to key men in the Election Commission of Pakistan but yet if the said allegation is proved neither the PTI nor any of its leaders would be penalized or banned.
The government may be expecting from the Commission to take a harsh decision against the PTI on this issue but under the law the maximum the ECP could do is to confiscate the “prohibited funding”.
It is also revealed by The News probe that the government’s allegation of PTI’s Jewish-Indian connection has no convincing grounds.
Information minister Pervez Rashid Thursday levelled serious allegations against the PTI and its Chief Imran Khan and linked them with Jewish and Indian lobbies.
Knowledgeable ECP sources though did not confirm PTI’s alleged Jewish and Indian funding connection, these sources said that the apparent serious violation of Political Parties Order 2002 concerns the alleged receiving of funding by the Tehrik-e-Insaaf from a foreign corporate concern.
“We don’t know whether the said company is owned by Jews or Indians but if this allegation is finally established, the ECP could not do more than confiscating such ‘prohibited funding’,” a source said.
Although the ECP sources did not share the details of the foreign company that has allegedly funded the PTI in violation of the law, the documents being displayed in TV talkshows and press briefings by information minister and other PML-N leaders show one “Lab USA Inc” to have funded US$ 50 or more to PTI USA. According to the available information on internet, the Lab USA Inc is a medical laboratory, which provides some of the most comprehensive blood and other specimen tests.
Under the Political Parties Order 2002; Any contribution made, directly or indirectly, by any foreign government, multinational or domestically incorporated public or private company, firm, trade or professional association shall be prohibited and the parties may accept contributions and donations only from individuals.
The law added, “Any contribution or donation which is prohibited under this Order shall be confiscated in favour of the State in the manner as may be prescribed.
Explanation.- For the purpose of this section, a “contribution or donation” includes a contribution or donation made in cash, kind, stocks, hospitality, accommodation, transport, fuel and provision of other such facilities.”
The rules, made under the Political Parties Order 2002, empower the Election Commission of Pakistan with the power to confiscate prohibited funds. These rules say, “Where the Election Commission decides that the contributions or donations, as the case may be, accepted by the political parties are prohibited under clause (3) of Article 6, it shall, subject to notice to the political party concerned and after giving an opportunity of being heard, direct the same to be confiscated in favour of the State to be deposited in Government Treasury or sub-Treasury in the following head of the account.”
Regarding government’s allegation of PTI’s Jewish and Indian connection, the documents do not show any convincing evidence. This serious allegation has been leveled on the basis of the mere mentioning of two names — one of a Hindu (Inder Dosanjh) and another of a possible Jew (Barry C Schneps) — in the long list of individual contributors of PTI’s funding in USA.
Except these two individuals and the company — Lab USA Inc — all other contributors appear overseas or American Pakistanis. Interestingly all the names mentioned in the list including a Hindu, a Jew and a foreign company, are shown to have contributed US$ 50 or more.
There is no mention of millions of dollars of funding having done for the PTI either by any Jewish or Hindu lobby.
The documents instead show that instead of millions, the PTI USA collected $15000, $30000, $25000 and $ 20000 on May 9, 2014, August 8, 2014, August 21, 2014 and August 28, 2014 respectively.
What, however, should be a serious concern for the PTI is to justify how and why did it receive funding from a foreign company?
The Election Commission of Pakistan has already taken notice of the PTI’s funding issue and announced on Thursday that the commission had the authority to sort out embezzlement in party funds and funding from foreign countries.
The ECP rejected a plea by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that had questioned its constitutional jurisdiction to hear a petition on PTI’s funding.