Published On: Wed, Jan 20th, 2021
Published in Category: Islamabad

Maryam Nawaz accuses PTI of receiving foreign funding from India & Israel

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ISLAMABAD : Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz Sharif has accused Paksitan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) of receiving foreign funding from India and Israel. She alleged that money from both countries came into the accounts of Imran Khan’s employees through ‘hundi’. She said that having received funding from India, Imran Khan was hopeful of Narendra Modi winning the 2019 elections.

Separate rallies led by different constituent members of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) – a 11-party opposition alliance seeking to oust the government – reached Islamabad on Tuesday where a protest was held outside the headquarters of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) against what the PDM has called an “unacceptable delay” in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) foreign funding case.

Addressing the rally, Maryam Nawaz Sharif accused the Prime Minister of operating 23 bank accounts under his name and concealing his crime from the ECP. She alleged that the scrutiny committee denied releasing facts about the case because Imran Khan did not permit it. “The one who called us thieves, turned out to be the biggest thief himself”, she added.

She said that a long list of Imran Khan’s crimes came to light before the ECP’s scrutiny committee, but it had been instructed to go easy on him. That is why the scrutiny committee has been investigating for three years. Maryam Nawaz said that the shocking revelations should have prompted a decision within three days. During the 80 hearings of the case, Imran Khan sought stay of proceedings 24 times. This shows that his conscience was not clear and that he was hiding something, she said. She continued her criticism of the Prime Minister, saying that he was responsible for the destruction of Pakistan and the public knew know who imposed him on 220 million people. She said that Pakistan was changing and its people have stood up for the sake of democracy.

She said the PDM parties had gathered outside the ECP to remind it of its constitutional obligations. Commenting on the size of the crowd, she asked whether there had been a “misunderstanding” that the PDM’s planned long march was being held today. “From the huge size of the crowd, I feel like you had that misconception. If this is a protest rally, look and think what the condition will be when the public reaches here for the long march,” she told the rally.

She said the protest was being held on the Constitutional Avenue but “unfortunately there is no justice or Constitution in the country we live in”. “Today we have gathered in front of the ECP office to remind it of its constitutional responsibilities, to tell the chief election commissioner that your institution is a constitutional institution and an institution of the people. This is the institution that the Constitution has made responsible for respecting the people’s votes and this is the institution that had to get respect for the people’s votes,” she added.

Terming the PTI foreign funding case the “biggest fraud in Pakistan’s history”, she said although the cases against her father, PML-N supremo Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, were expedited and decided within days, the ECP had “only held 70 hearings” of the PTI case since 2014.

“Today the PDM and public ask you, if you did not steal, then why did you try to stop the case 30 times?” Maryam said, addressing Prime Minister Imran Khan. She added that the premier had submitted six requests in the court saying the ECP could not decide this case.

“ECP formed a committee called the scrutiny committee whose job was to investigate and place results in front of the people but when the probe was started, the list of crimes was so long that it was told to be lenient on [the PTI] and the committee then became obedient of Imran Khan and ECP,” she said.

The PML-N leader said the case against the PTI could be decided within three days “but they have been sitting like a snake on top of it for seven years”.

“If you were so innocent why did you give applications to keep the proceedings secret?” she said, referring to the PTI. “This means theft took place and very big theft was done.”

Maryam said the State Bank of Pakistan had identified “23 secret accounts” of the PTI which she claimed were being operated through Prime Minister Imran’s signatures.

“The scrutiny committee itself admits that it cannot give us the facts because Imran Khan has stopped [it from doing so]. Now you know the person who cried chor! chor! (thief!) turned out to be the biggest thief,” she added, alleging that funds had come into Imran’s accounts through Hundi.

Maryam alleged that Prime Minister Imran had received funds from people in Israel and India, saying: “Do you know who funded him from India? Bharatiya Janata Party member Inder Dosanjh. And the Israeli who funded him was Barry C. Schneps.”

She suggested that “countless” such people and companies from India and Israel had funded the PTI.

This is not the first time that the names of Schneps and Dosanjh have come up in connection with the PTI foreign funding case. In fact, the allegation was originally levelled by the original petitioner in the case, Akbar S. Babar, back in 2015.

Babar, who is a founding member of the PTI and a former close confidant of Prime Minister Imran, had said at the time that he had been compelled to take the legal course after the party leadership failed to hold the corrupt accountable for financial wrongdoings.

“When you receive funds from BJP members, then why would [you] not pray for Modi to win [the elections]? Why would Kashmir not be thrown in Modi’s lap then?” Maryam said. “When you take money from someone, you have to do their bidding.”

She said it was due to the PDM’s movement that the premier was forced to re-open proceedings in the foreign funding case.

Mocking the PTI statement blaming the party’s agents in the US for any possible illegal funding, Maryam alleged Imran “is either very foolish or he thinks the PDM and Pakistan’s people are naive”.

She said: “When the money was coming and you were spending it, you did not know it came from the agents. But when you had to answer, you remembered the agents after seven years when people asked and pressure was exerted.”

She alleged that Imran “knew how to sign and receive money, knew how to spend money like water and use it to topple the [PML-N] government but did not know where the billions were coming from”.

“If your agents have done all this, then tell in front of the ECP which agent put votes in your ballot boxes in the 2018 election. Tell the people of Pakistan […] who were the agents who brought you to power. Who were the agents who got you fake certificate of Saqib (not Sadiq) and Ameen from [former chief justice] Saqib Nisar? Who were the agents who managed the media to get news of your choice run through pressure?” she told the premier.

“Pakistan is changing, no matter how much power and strength you exert, you will not be able to defeat the people.”

Addressing the ECP administration, Maryam asked why the commission had “remained silent” when its “feet and hands were tied in the 2018 elections”.

“When your institution (ECP) was held hostage and an incompetent person was selected and people’s votes were stolen, why did you not speak?” she asked the ECP, adding that today Pakistan’s people were “bearing the brunt of your silence”.

She said along with the government, the people also held the ECP responsible inflation, rising prices of utilities and food items and governance failures.

Maryam alleged that Prime Minister Imran had “confessed to his crime” in the foreign funding case. “When someone accepts their crime, then there is no decision, there is only punishment,” she said.

The ECP failure has become a “punishment” for the people, she said, asking why when the Results Transmission System (RTS) was disrupted, did the ECP not take notice. Slamming the ECP, she said that if an “incompetent” person was made the ruler by “robbing people’s votes”, then why did the institution not speak up.

“Inflation is rampant today, [petrol prices are at shockingly high rates] and the ECP [cannot be absolved of blame either],” she added.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Secretary General and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry for his part, said PM Imran Khan was “illegally imposed” on the country. He slammed the government over what he termed the economic crisis Pakistan is in and the government’s policies. “It is time the selected government is sent packing.” Furthermore, he said that PDM would submit its memorandum tomorrow, not today.

Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) Chief Sardar Muhammad Akhtar Mengal, a former ally of the PTI-led government, said that the nation wants the supremacy of the Constitution. “The people want the supremacy of the Constitution – which is the veyr foundation of this country,” Mengal said.

The BNP-M chief, talking about the country’s progress, said that Pakistan will not be able to move forward unless equal rights are ensured for the people.

Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) Chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao said that even after six years, PM Imran Khan was unable to provide details of his foreign funding. “Why did you (PM Imran Khan) take several dates from the ECP?” he asked. “He should be disqualified under Article 62/63.”

Sherpao said that he aspires for a government to be formed – one that is according to the people’s wishes.