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All legalities about funds fulfilled in UK, says PTI finance head

Murtaza Ali Shah
Friday, Jan 14, 2022

LONDON: The person in charge of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) finances in the UK has said he sent every penny raised in the UK to Pakistan and fulfilled all legal responsibilities in the UK.

The PTI leader’s comments came as the Election Commission of Pakistan’s scrutiny committee said the PTI did not share details of two UK accounts which sent money for the party’s politics in Pakistan.

Speaking to this correspondent, Muhammad Iqbal said he can confirm that all funds raised in the UK have been sent to Pakistan and “we have never carried out any kind of investment whatsoever and this will also be reflected in our balance sheets filed at the Companies House”.

Iqbal from Stoke-on-Trent — known commonly as Mo Iqbal who made his fortunes in the tiles business — was made Azad Kashmir Legislative Assembly’s member in August last year after the PTI won Azad Kashmir elections. It’s understood that Mo Iqbal was able to become the AJK Assembly member on the seat reserved for overseas Pakistanis on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recommendation.

PM Khan handed over full control of PTI UK’s finances and membership affairs to Iqbal nearly ten years ago. Iqbal said the legal structure of the PTI UK is independent from Pakistan and “all monies that are raised are sent to wherever the donors wish them to be sent to” and “in terms of PTI membership all funds go to PTI Pakistan”.

PTI’s former leader Akbar S Babar has said the ECP scrutiny committee has vindicated all his charges about dubious foreign funding to the PTI.

The scrutiny committee has documented that not a single PTI bank account maintained abroad has been shared with it despite repeated orders.

Mo Iqbal said: “PTI UK is a legal entity established by overseas diaspora to support PTI funds, therefore, there is no jurisdiction for any authority in Pakistan to this entity. It would be entirely possible and legal for PTI UK to not send funds to Pakistan if it did not wish to.

“We operate a membership system and donations are collected and where possible any member’s request is adhered to in terms of where funds should be ultimately spent. The PTI UK admin/finance team led by myself has always focussed on administration rather than political matters.”

He said: “All monies come into the account via a digital method, we have a strict no cash policy. As all funds are sent to Pakistan and cannot be spent locally. Our financial accounts are prepared by an independent firm and we oblige by all the rules in the UK.” Since becoming the AJK Legislative Assembly member, Mo Iqbal has shifted to Pakistan.