The political drama in Pakistan continues to escalate as on Friday, an explosive story featured in the Financial Times revealed how the PTI accrued funds through cricket matches organised under Wootton Cricket Ltd, a company owned by Abraaj Group founder Arif Naqvi. As per the report, Mr Naqvi transferred three instalments directly to the PTI in 2013, adding up to a total of $2.12 million.

Apparently, Mr Naqvi organised a charity fundraiser in the UK during the summer, the ultimate benefactor of which was the PTI. The report claims that fees were paid to Wootton Cricket Ltd, which, despite the name, was in fact a Cayman Islands-incorporated company owned by Naqvi and the money was being used to bankroll the PTI. The emails and internal documents which the Financial Times had access to reveal that both companies and foreign nationals, as well as citizens of Pakistan, sent millions of dollars, including at least £2 million from a United Arab Emirates government minister who is also a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

The ECP’s investigation into the PTI’s funding sources was triggered back in 2014 when Akbar S Babar, who helped establish the PTI, filed a complaint. The ECP has been investigating this for the past seven years and earlier this year in January, the ECP’s scrutiny committee issued a damning report in which it said the PTI received funding from foreign nationals and companies and accused it of under-reporting funds and concealing dozens of bank accounts. It is interesting to note that while Wootton Cricket was named in the report, Mr Naqvi was not identified as its owner.

With the PTI staging a comeback in the political arena, this investigation is going to acquire even greater importance in the ongoing discourse as opponents will seek to exploit this opportunity.

As expected, the PTI leadership has dismissed these reports stating that Mr Naqvi has already given a statement to the ECP in the past and that the party is not guilty of any kind of foul play. The PDM coalition however is urging the ECP to release its verdict in the foreign funding case against the PTI as the earliest arguing that it is the electoral watchdog’s constitutional responsibility. The PTI’s argument that the foreign funding cases of all the political parties in the country should be addressed at the same time holds no weight. The political party which claims a higher moral ground must answer solely for itself and must not look for ways to escape accountability. Considering how long this investigation has been ongoing, the case should be resolved so that this chapter can be closed once and for all.