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Pakistan’s electoral body says ex-PM accepted illegal donations


ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s election watchdog ruled on Tuesday that former prime minister Imran Khan had accepted illegal donations to his political party from abroad. It is a key first step towards an eventual banning of Khan and his party from politics.

The case against the cricketer-turned-politician star dates back to 2014 when Akbar Babar, a disgruntled member of Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, filed a complaint against him with Pakistan’s Election Commission, accusing him of illegally receiving funds from foreign countries and companies. .

Under Pakistani law, political parties are not allowed to accept such donations.

In Tuesday’s highly anticipated decision, the commission found that Khan concealed bank accounts and received funds from companies based in the United States, Britain, Australia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries. He also said further action could be taken against Khan and his party.

The commission also recommended the seizure of illegal money allegedly received by Khan from abroad.

Babar hailed the discovery, saying all the allegations he made against Khan had been proven. He urged Khan to step down as leader of his party.

The decision drew criticism from Khan’s party.

Fawad Chaudhry, a spokesman for Khan’s party, defended Khan, saying he did not knowingly violate any law or may have submitted an incorrect affidavit in court regarding the donations.

Hed said their party would challenge the tribunal’s decision in court.

However, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif took to Twitter, saying the court ruling proved Khan was a liar. Sharif’s ruling Pakistan Muslim League has called on Khan to step down as leader of his party.

Khan himself did not comment on the court’s decision. However, he recently urged supporters of his party to rally against the Election Commission of Pakistan in the capital Islamabad on Thursday.

Khan has been critical of the court since April, when his government was overthrown by a no-confidence vote in parliament. He had said the court might announce a harsh ruling against his party to appease Sharif.

Khan launched his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party in 1996. He came to power in 2018 when his party won the vote. However, he failed to improve the country’s economy, which made him unpopular. Taking advantage of the situation, Khan’s opponents united against him in the National Assembly and ousted him in April 2022 by the vote of no confidence.

Khan has since alleged that his political opponents ousted him as part of a US plot. Washington, Sharif and Khan’s other political opponents have denied this allegation.

washingtonpost Gt

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