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Pakistan: FIA summons various PTI leaders in foreign funding case

Islamabad: Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has summoned 10 other leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf after former National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, in reference to the ongoing probe into PTI's prohibited funding case.
The agency summoned former Sindh governor Imran Ismail, Mian Mahmood-ur-Rashid, former MPA Seema Zia and others to address questions during the probe, ARY News reported. On Saturday, the Peshawar office of FIA summoned Qaiser to record his statement on August 11 at 2 pm, while Imran Ismail and Seema Zia have been asked to appear before the agency on August 12 and 15 respectively.
In a statement, Qaiser said that he has not received any notice from the FIA as of now. "Have not done anything illegal, do not have anything to worry about," he added.
FIA sent a notice to the former speaker and it stated that as per the verdict on Akbar S Babar's case, Qaiser has two bank accounts and he is associated with the functioning of those two accounts; therefore he has been asked to appear before the inquiry team to answer questions regarding the details of the bank account.
Meanwhile, the probe agency has identified four employees of the PTI secretariat, whose personal and salary accounts were used for receiving foreign funding.
The agency said funds were received in the bank accounts of Muhammad Arshad, Tahir Iqbal, Muhammad Rafique, and Nauman Afzal.
In the statements, the PTI employees said that they used to give the money received in their accounts to Imran Khan party's finance manager, as per the report.
They said they would give signed blank cheques to the finance manager. According to the publication, the FIA came to know during the investigation that besides other accounts, foreign funding was also received in employees' salary accounts.
FIA earlier constituted a six-member team to probe the case.
This investigation came a few days after the three-member Election Commission of Pakistan bench in a unanimous verdict ruled that the PTI received prohibited funding in the case pending since 2014, Geo News reported.
Akbar S Babar, the man who blew the lid off the scam involving the inflow of dubious foreign funds into Imran Khan's political outfit Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) formally approached the FIA to initiate a probe against the PTI on Wednesday.
Babar told the FIA that the PTI's financial board in 2011 illegally authorised four employees of the party's central secretariat to collect donations in their personal accounts from within Pakistan and abroad.
A sum of Rs 11.104 million was deposited in the accounts of the PTI employees, which was beyond their known sources of income, Babar said in his letter.
He wrote that the funds were received through the accounts of employees Tahir Iqbal, Muhammad Nauman Afzal, Muhammad Arshad, and Muhammad Rafiq.
On August 4, the Pakistan government decided to file a disqualification reference against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan after the verdict of the prohibited funding case and the federal cabinet accepted the recommendation.
Pakistan's Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said in her press conference that the PTI used overall 16 bank accounts that were not found on the records.
"For the first time in Pakistan, a political party is declared a foreign-funded party. The accounts of the PTI secretariat employees were used for foreign funding," she added.
Aurangzeb said that PTI was declared a 'foreign-funded party' in light of the ECP verdict, according to ARY News.
In its verdict, the ECP observed the 'unknown accounts' and said that hiding accounts are a "violation of the Constitution".
Moreover, it found that PTI Chairman Imran Khan submitted a false Nomination Form I.
The Commission found that the donations were taken from 34 countries in fundraising. These included America, Australia, and the UAE, Geo News reported.
The ECP also said that the PTI had taken funds from an American businessman. In its verdict, the ECP observed the 'unknown accounts' and said that hiding accounts are a "violation of the Constitution".
The ECP decided to issue a show-cause notice to the PTI to explain why the commission should not seize the funds it received.
The ECP had released the cause list for the case. The cause list showed that the verdict would be announced by a three-member bench led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, who arrived early in the morning at the office. (ANI)

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