FIA summons PTI leaders to probe prohibited funding

n Six inquiries launched simultaneously in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi n 11 PTI leaders including Asad Qaiser, Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed asked to appear before investigators .


ISLAMABAD/PESHAWAR/KARACHI     -   The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has summoned senior leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) including former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser and Punjab Minister Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed along with others in connection with probe related to party funding.

The FIA on Friday called four employees of the PTI secretariat in order to investigate the money laundering and embezzlement in these funds. The investigators also recorded the statements of these employees. On Saturday, the FIA launched investigation into the utilisation of funds from “prohibited” sources days after the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) ruled that the party had collected illegal donations.

A total of six inquiries are opened simultaneously in major cities of Pakistan, including federal capital Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. According to FIA authorities, 13 accounts were identified in which these funds were transferred, and the agency issued notices to the banks under which these accounts were operating.

An official said the agency so far summoned PTI leaders Asad Qaiser, Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed and 11 others to submit replies during the probe with a total of six inquiries opened concurrently in major cities across the country, including federal capital Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi.

The agency summoned 11 PTI leaders including former NA Speaker Asad Qaisar, former Sindh governor Imran Ismail, Mian Mahmood-ur-Rashid, former MPA Seema Zia and 11 others.

Courts have also directed these banks to submit complete details of these bank accounts to the FIA in order to help the inquiry teams with the investigation. The probe was launched on a letter written by PTI founding member Akbar S Babar, requesting an investigation against the PTI for receiving funds through accounts opened in the name of junior employees.

Confirming that he has received a notice from FIA, PTI leader Asad Qaiser wrote on Twitter: “I want to tell the imported government that we are not afraid of such filthy tricks.”

He went on to say, “The imported government should avoid using the national institutions for taking political revenge,” he said, advising them to sow as much as they can bear later.

FIA Peshawar’s office has summoned Qaiser on August 11 (Thursday) at 2:00pm. The notice sent to the former speaker 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.

According to sources, FIA formed five investigation committees comprising of three members each in different cities, while a committee has been set up at the headquarters for coordination.

Sources further added that the committees will proceed with the investigation in line with the directions of the ECP; the terms of reference (TOR) have been issued in this regard. FIA Director-General Mohsin Butt is overseeing all investigations.

In Karachi, the FIA has formed a five-member team headed by Deputy Director Bank Circle Rabia Qureshi comprising Assistant Director Rauf Sheikh, Inspectors Sabeen Ghauri, Aftab Watoo, and Sub Inspector Rahat Khan.

The committee has been directed to investigate funding companies, individual bank accounts, and all other monetary details, which are to be later shared with the central committee formed in the headquarters.

The FIA launched the investigation on a letter written by Babar, requesting a probe against the PTI for receiving funds through accounts opened in the name of junior employees.

Akbar S Babar 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 Rs11.104 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.

Acting on this 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.

Sources close to these developments say FIA also wants to probe whether there are unknown accounts, besides looking into sources of funding in these accounts, how much funds were sent through them and whether funds were transferred in accordance with the laws of host countries.

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