ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Election Commission or Pakistan ruled on Tuesday that Ousted PM Imran Khan’s political party received millions of dollars in illegal funds, according to sources, which could lead to a ban on his Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
This came weeks after Khan’s party swept by-elections in Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province, possibly paving the way for a snap national polls.
According to CNN, the illegal funds were obtained from foreign countries, including the United States, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, and Australia.
Khan, who in April was ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, was not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for the PTI party denied any wrongdoing.
The commission’s ruling is a major setback for the former cricket star who has been leading a campaign against the new government.
The case, filed in 2014 by Akbar S. Khan, a PTI founding member, accused the party of receiving illegal funds from abroad, as the CNN wrote.
“The commission is satisfied that the contributions and donations have been received by the respondent party from prohibited sources,” the ruling, which has been seen by Reuters, said.
The commission said the party also hid 13 accounts, adding that the declaration submitted to the commission about the party finances by Khan as its chairman from 2008 to 2013 were “found to be grossly inaccurate.”
In April, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan was ousted from power after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, where the opposition parties brought a motion against him for bad governance and economic mismanagement.
Last month, former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party swept by-elections in Pakistan’s most populous Punjab province, possibly paving the way for a snap national polls.
Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI), won 15 of the 20 seats up for grabs in Punjab – a province that has often served as a bellwether for national politics.
The rival Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif secured four seats and one went to an independent candidate, his party leaders confirmed at a late-night news conference, as VOA reported.
The outcome has given the PTI the requisite majority in the provincial legislature to reclaim power from the PML-N government of incumbent Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, son of Sharif, who took an oath of office only eight weeks ago, according to the report.
Khan thanked his party workers, voters and allies for helping the PTI win Sunday’s elections, renewing his demand for snap elections in Pakistan.
“I want to first thank our PTI workers & voters of Punjab for defeating not just PMLN candidates but the entire state machinery, esp harassment by police, & a totally biased ECP,” he wrote in a thread. “Thank you to all our Allies, PMLQ, MWM & Sunni Ittehad Council.”
“The only way forward from here is to hold fair & free elections under a credible ECP,” he wrote. “Any other path will only lead to greater political uncertainty & further economic chaos.”