For decades Imran Khan, his supporters, and his cult-like following, claimed a ‘Mr Clean’ image for him all of which has been torn asunder by the recent revelations of foreign funding for Imran Khan and the PTI.
A recent investigative report by Simon Clarke for Financial Times provides eye-opening details about how funds collected from foreign companies and individuals through charity cricket matches were eventually funneled to the PTI under the watchful eye of Arif Naqvi. Naqvi, “is said to have organised a highly exclusive cricket T20 tournament on his private estate in Wootton, England, over 2010-12, in which he invited the world’s powerful and wealthy to take part. The participants were reportedly told that the thousands of pounds in fees they would pay to participate or any other contributions they made would be diverted to ‘philanthropic’ causes.” However, as the investigation by Simon Clark revealed, “millions of dollars collected through the fundraising tournament by Wootton Cricket Ltd, a Cayman Islands company owned and operated by Mr Naqvi, were later transferred through intermediaries to the PTI.”
As an editorial in Dawn lays out, “The problem is not that a wealthy man of Pakistani origin used his money and influence to do a favor for a friend” but “that some major donors to Mr Naqvi’s personal cricket league were, in fact, foreign nationals or entities who are, by law, prohibited from providing any funding to Pakistani political parties.”
The revelation has renewed calls for the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to issue its judgement on the long-running foreign funding case against the PTI.