Minister for Information Shibli Faraz on Sunday asked the Opposition parties to quit “hiding behind rallies” and submit details of their funding to the Election Commission of Pakistan’s scrutiny committee.
Faraz, addressing a press conference in Islamabad, said that the PTI has turned in all the information sought by the ECP pertaining to the party’s funding and now it is the Opposition parties’ turn.
The minister spoke about Pakistan Democratic Movement, the 11-party Opposition alliance which is due to stage a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan on January 19, and said that it is a “sorry attempt by them to attempt to repeat a pack of lies so much that it starts to seem like the truth”.
The Opposition has demanded that facts in the case be made public by the Election Commission of Pakistan.
“The drama they have staged, [it must be realised], this is not about PTI, it is about all of us. And we have provided an authenticated, notorised record of all the information from our end.
“Now it is their duty to come tomorrow, instead of the day after and tell the people whether it is really us who are thieves who have provided all proof,” the minister said.
He said that after the Opposition parties’ performance over the last two-three months, the Pakistan Democratic Movement is “a thing of the past”.
“They must submit their record to the scrutiny committee instead of hiding behind rallies,” said Faraz.
PTI has turned in 40,000 entries’
The minister said that following orders by the Supreme Court, the PTI had provided all the details of the donations received by “party workers and sympathisers” during the 2018 election campaign.
He then proceeded to state that these entries are 40,000 in number with names, addresses, telephone numbers, ID card numbers — all notorised and authenticated.
The minster said that all transactions came “through proper banking channels and were deposited into PTI’s bank accounts”.
He said the details are available for reporters to see after the press conference.
Faraz noted that under the orders of the Supreme Court, and as has been the practice, after the election symbol is given to a party, it is bound to provide accounts for the past 5 years.
“We have done [our due diligence] but now the matter has fallen to them (Opposition) to provide proof of their funding — PPP, PML-N and Maulana Fazlur Rehman — and the big expenditures they make with the help of vested interest groups.
“They do this so that when they come into power, they can facilitate these people in every illegal task […] such as sending money abroad or bringing money to Pakistan, or money laundering […] they never responded to the scrutiny committee about all this,” he said.
Faraz then read out a passage from a letter by the ECP in the case of Farrukh Habib vs PML-N.
“Though the committee has tried its level best to collect the relevant record, the respondent party was reluctant to submit the record asked for by the committee from time to time and the committee was constrained to adjourn the proceedings for provision of information as per the TORs (terms of reference).”
He explained that the ECP had asked the PML-N to provide the ID card numbers and other information of people who had made donations to the party. “But these people are not handing over any information.”
“Their approach has always been that instead of answering the questions put to them, they say “he is also a thief’,” Faraz said.
The minister said that the Opposition parties are all “playing a game of hypocrisy”, whether it is the Peoples Party or the N-League, or Maulana Fazlur Rehman — “who believes that a state without him is incomplete”.
He said that the parties had historically always acted out of their own interest in its dealings, “whether it is with the Securities and Exchange Commission, NAB (National Accountability Bureau) or FIA (Federal Investigation Agency)”.
“They never sought to serve the people. They proclaim they undertook so many developmental projects but they took commission from these very projects,” said the minister, adding that the Opposition parties have always viewed the law to be “different for them and different for the rest”.
“They have made an unsuccessful attempt to pressurise institutions,” he added.
‘Opposition parties themselves a product of foreign funding’
Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Farrukh Habib, taking over the briefing, questioned how it is that the PML-N and PPP are staging a protest outside the ECP.
He said that for the past four years, the two parties avoided submitting a record of their funding to the ECP scrutiny committee and the November 5 deadline has long since passed.
Habib said that “those who are speaking of the foreign funding case, are themselves are the product of foreign funding”.
He repeated Faraz’s statement that this scrutiny is not limited to the PTI but extends to all parties.
“We will not let these parties get away. They will have to provide answers,” the parliamentary secretary vowed.