Sherry says PTI will have to answer to the report of huge funds transfer in name of charity n Senator Ijaz urges ECP to simultaneously decide foreign funding against PML-N, PPP and PTI.

 

ISLAMABAD    -   The controversy over foreign funding case of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) echoed in the Senate on Friday with a federal minister chiding ex-premier Imran Khan’s party for allegedly raising huge funds in the name of charity form foreign companies and individuals and directly transferring the same in its accounts.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker and Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman raised the issue while referring to a story published in the Financial Times, which says that business tycoon and owner of Dubai-based Abraaj Group Arif Naqvi transferred $2.12 million directly into PTI’s accounts in 2013, the money which was also collected from foreign companies and nationals.

Pakistan’s political parties are not allowed to receive foreign funding from foreign nationals and companies.

Senator Rehman said that the story revealed how the funds raised in the name of charity directly went into the pockets of PTI and named Wootton Cricket Ltd, a company at the centre of controversy and owned by Naqvi. She further said that the story has reported misappropriation of $2.12 million that went into the funding accounts of PTI. “Now PTI would have to answer for this.”

Reacting to the remarks of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem for holding the present government responsible for the economic mess, she pointed out that the PTI which promised to break the begging bowl almost doubled the external debts in just less than four years in power. “They brought Pakistan on knees”, she added.

While responding to Ms Rehman, PTI Senator Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that the opposition was making hue and cry over the foreign funding case for no reasons. He demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to simultaneously decide cases of foreign funding against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), PPP and PTI so that everybody would know the truth.

Law Minister and Leader of the House in the Senate Azam Nazeer Tarar in his brief remarks alleged then PTI government had sold out that government-owned International Hotel Lahore’s land valuing Rs 500 million per kanal at a low price of Rs 120 million per kanal. I can talk about 10 corruption scams of the previous PTI government, he added.

Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem had earlier accused the government of violating Article 73 of the constitution by failing to lay before the house the “real budget document.”

He said a day after the Senate was prorogued on June 23, the ruling coalition paced the real budget with super tax etc under the fresh dictation of International Monetary Fund (IMF) before the National Assembly. Then the government got it passed from the lower house without placing a copy of the finance bill before the Senate, which is a constitutional requirement, he added.

The opposition leader said the people had given their verdict against the government through by-polls in Punjab. He also criticized the government for lifting a ban on import of 35 luxury items.

Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmed taking part in the debate on the situation of floods in the country deplored over the indifferent behaviour of federal and provincial governments as well institutions concerned to cope with the devastating heavy rains followed by floods in different parts of the country. “Where is the state, where is the government,” he questioned.

He said that floods have destroyed peoples’ homes, agriculture, livestock and businesses but the state was invisible at the time of this difficulty.

“Where is the prime minister?” he again questioned and added whether the premier has visited the flood-affected areas including Karachi? He said that the performance of the federal National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and provincial disaster management authorities (PDMAs) was abysmal in this time of emergency. He demanded the federal and provincial governments to compensate the flood-affected people.

Ruling Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Senator Mazoor Ahmed Kakar also lashed out at the political class saying that the floods have ruined Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh but the politicians were busy slinging mud on one another. He also put a question mark on the performance of NDMA and PDMAs.

National Party Senator Tahir Bizinjo said that 300 people lost their lives due to floods countrywide and demanded that affected-areas should be declared “disaster-hit” and recovery of loans on agriculture should be postponed in these areas.

Leader of the House Tarar while concluding the debate informed the house that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has formed the special committee having representation of provincial governments which meets daily to assess floods and their losses. He said that the federal government would announce the relief package on top of the provincial government’s package, which will be for the people of urban and rural areas and for the farmers as well.

Meanwhile, addressing a press conference here, Minister of State for Petroleum DrMusadik Malik on Friday said as per law of the land, no political party could get funds from other than Pakistani citizens and if anyone received finances from any foreign national or company, it would be considered “black and illegal money”.

“If anyone has to do politics in Pakistan, funds can only be received from Pakistani citizens, not anyone else.... you [any party] cannot take funds from any foreign state or its cabinet member, if taken, it will not only be considered illegal but the party will also be ceased as per Pakistani laws [on account of prohibited foreign funding],” he said.

He said an international newspaper had narrated the story of PTI foreign funds, which the party leadership received from Arif Naqvi, chief executive of a foreign company, ‘Abraj Capital’, which was being run with foreigners’ investment.

He said Arif Naqvi, working as the ‘fund manager’ of foreign investors, was now facing jail in the United Kingdom on charges of fraudulent activities and for involvement in different ‘black money schemes,’. He was also wanted by the US authorities after they unearthed his such illegal activities in America too.

“His [Arif Naqvi’s] name is on top of the list of major fraudsters, who carried out  fraudulent activities across the world during last eight to ten years.”