The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Saturday accused PTI Chairman Imran Khan of “misusing” his interim bail to skip court hearings as it petitioned a banking court hearing his prohibited funding case to form a medical board to examine the former prime minister.
The FIA had in October 2022 booked Imran and other PTI leaders in connection with their party allegedly receiving prohibited funding. The case was filed by the state through FIA’s Corporate Banking Circle in Islamabad.
Later, a special court in Islamabad had granted him an interim bail, in which he kept getting an extension on medical grounds, after he received bullet wounds in an assassination bid at a rally in Wazirabad on Nov 3 last year.
In a fresh application filed with Islamabad’s banking court today, the FIA said a bail application filed by Imran was pending before the court.
“After getting an interim bail, the accused is misusing the concession and not appearing before this honourable court and in fact, he is not cooperating with the process of law and till date, neither he joined the investigation nor he is appearing before the court on one pretext or the other,” the agency said.
It also said that a “stereotype (sic) medical certificate” was being presented from a cancer hospital, “although the petitioner alleges he has issues related to orthopedic (sic)”.
The FIA pointed out that the medical report presented by Imran was issued by a hospital which was owned by him, “thus the said reports are otherwise not credible”.
The agency said “the principles of fair play and justice requires that the accused is to be examined by the board of expert doctors on the subject from PIMS or Polyclinic and if their reports can be entertained”.
“It is respectfully prayed that order of the constitution of a medical board and examination of accused may graciously be passed and said board may kindly be directed to submit report qua physical health or mobility of accused in the light of injuries claimed by him on his leg in the best interest of justice,” the FIA said in its prayer to the court.
Meanwhile, banking court judge Raskhinda Shaheen conducted a hearing of the case today.
During the hearing, Imran’s lawyer Naeem Haider Panjotha informed the court that his client had already been summoned by the Islamabad High Court on Feb 28.
At this, the banking court also issued a summon to the ex-premier for Feb 28 and adjourned the hearing until then.
In September last year, the ECP had issued its verdict in the prohibited funding case — previously referred to as the foreign funding case — against the PTI, which stated that the party did indeed receive prohibited funding.
A three-member ECP bench headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikander (CEC) Sultan Raja had announced the verdict in a case filed by PTI founding member Akbar S. Babar which had been pending since November 14, 2014.
In the verdict, the commission noted that the party “knowingly and willfully” received funding from Wootton Cricket Limited, operated by business tycoon Arif Naqvi. The party was a “willing recipient” of prohibited money of $2,121,500, it said.
The ECP said that the party “knowingly and willfully” also received donations from Bristol Engineering Services (a UAE-based company), E-Planet Trustees (a Cayman Islands private registered company), SS Marketing Manchester (a UK-based private company), PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975 which were “hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani laws”.
It went on to say that the party also received donations through PTI Canada Corporation and PTI UK Public Limited Company. “From both the companies, the amounts received into its accounts of PTI Pakistan are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani laws.
“PTI Pakistan, through fundraising campaigns by PTI USA LLC-6160 and PTI USA LLC-5975, was a recipient of donations from 34 foreign nationals and 351 foreign-based companies. Collection of donations and contributions from foreign nationals and companies are hit by prohibition and in violation of Pakistani laws,” it said.
The electoral watchdog also said that the PTI had been found to be a beneficiary of donations made by Romita Shetty, a US-based business woman of Indian-origin which was in violation of the law.
The ECP said the party had only owned eight accounts before the commission and declared 13 accounts to be unknown. “The data obtained from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reveals that all the 13 accounts disowned by the PTI were opened and operated by senior PTI management and leadership at [a] central and provincial level.”
The commission noted that the party also failed to mention three accounts which were also being operated by the party’s senior leadership. Non-disclosure and concealment of 16 bank accounts by the PTI is a “serious lapse” on part of the PTI’s leadership and in violation of Article 17(3) of the Constitution, it said.