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Pakistan: FIA summons former NA Speaker Asad Qaiser in PTI foreign funding case

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Peshawar | August 6, 2022 9:56:47 PM IST
Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has summoned former National Assembly Speaker and senior leader of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Asad Qaiser in reference to the ongoing probe into PTI's prohibited funding case, local media reported on Saturday.

Peshawar office of FIA summoned Qaiser on Thursday, August 11 at 2pm, Geo News reported.

FIA sent a notice to the former speaker and it stated that as per the verdict on Akbar S Babar's case, Qaiser has two bank accounts and he is associated with the functioning of those two accounts; therefore he has been asked to appear before the inquiry team to answer questions regarding the details of the bank account.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan's FIA constituted a six-member team to probe the case.

This investigation came a few days after the three-member Election Commission of Pakistan bench in a unanimous verdict ruled that the PTI received prohibited funding in the case pending since 2014, Geo News reported.

Director Amna Baig will be leading the investigation team and four employees that were nominated in the ECP report were included in the initial investigation, according to sources.

The employees who recorded their initial testimonies to the FIA include Muhammad Rafique, Tahir Iqbal and Muhammad Arshad.

Akbar S Babar, the man who blew the lid off the scam involving inflow of dubious foreign funds into Imran Khan's political outfit Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) formally approached the FIA to initiate a probe against the PTI on Wednesday.

Babar told the FIA that the PTI's financial board in 2011 illegally authorised four employees of the party's central secretariat to collect donations in their personal accounts from within Pakistan and abroad.

A sum of Rs 11.104 million was deposited in the accounts of the PTI employees which was beyond their known sources of income, Babar said in his letter. He wrote that the funds were received through the accounts of employees Tahir Iqbal, Muhammad Nauman Afzal, Muhammad Arshad, and Muhammad Rafiq.

On August 4, the Pakistan government decided to file a disqualification reference against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan after the verdict of the prohibited funding case and the federal cabinet accepted the recommendation.

Pakistan's Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in her press conference that the PTI used overall 16 bank accounts that were not found on the records.

She alleged that PTI used donations to the charity as party funds and an inquiry will be conducted into it. "For the first time in Pakistan, a political party is declared a foreign-funded party. The accounts of the PTI secretariat employees were used for foreign funding," she added.

Aurangzeb said that PTI was declared a 'foreign-funded party' in light of the ECP verdict, according to ARY News. On August 2, The ECP in its unanimous verdict on the "prohibited funding" case, on Tuesday, said that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had received the prohibited funds and issued a show-cause notice to PTI.

The Commission found that the donations were taken from 34 countries in fundraising. These included America, Australia, and the UAE, Geo News reported.

The ECP also said that the PTI had taken funds from an American businessman. In its verdict, the ECP observed the 'unknown accounts' and said that hiding accounts are a "violation of the Constitution".

Moreover, it found that PTI Chairman Imran Khan submitted a false Nomination Form I. The ECP decided to issue a show-cause notice to the PTI to explain why the commission should not seize the funds it received.

Acting on Babar's letter and the ECP ruling on this case, the FIA is probing the utilisation of funds from 13 undeclared accounts and has issued notices to the account holders. (ANI)

 
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