Maryam Nawaz reminds ECP of its constitutional responsibilities

Claims PTI, PM Imran Khan received massive funds through hundi
Photo: Hina Pervez Butt/Twitter
Photo: Hina Pervez Butt/Twitter

The Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of 11 opposition parties, is staging a protest outside the Election Commission of Pakistan's office in Islamabad against the delay in the PTI foreign funding case.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also the chief of the PDM, announced the protest Monday. Here are the live updates from the protest.

5:00PM: PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said they have gathered outside the ECP office to remind it of its constitutional responsibilities.

She said the election commission is a constitutional institution and it belongs to all Pakistanis. “You have been given the responsibility to give respect to people’s votes,” the PML-N leader said.

"Do you know how did the money come into the PTI and Imran Khan's accounts? It came through hundi," Maryam said of the foreign funds allegedly received by the ruling party.

“He received massive funds from two countries,” she said. “One is India and the other is Israel.

“Israelis were giving money to Imran Khan,” the PML-N leader said. “The money came through hundi and came into the accounts of Imran Khan’s personal servants.

“When you take money from BJP’s people, then why would not there be prayers for Modi’s victory,” she remarked.

Under pressure from the PDM, PM Khan said he didn’t know all the things as the party’s financial matters were being handled by his agents, Maryam claimed.

If everything was done by your agents, then inform the masses which of your agents put votes in your ballot boxes during the 2018 elections, she said.

“Do tell the people of Pakistan about the agents who brought you to power,” the PML-N leader said.

“Tell us who got you the fake certificates of Sadiq and Ameen from Justice (retired) Saqib Nisar, who manages the media for you and pressure it to run the new of their choice. Who are these agents?”

She blamed the prime minister for the downfall of 220 million people of Pakistan. “You are responsible for big crimes in Pakistan. Tell us about the agents who hide your every crime and mistake.”

“Who are they,” Maryam asked her supporters. “I can’t hear you,” she told them after they responded to her question.

“I think they must be hearing this, the voice will reach them that the people know who are the agents who imposed you on 220 million people,” the PML-N leader said.

She asked the election commission why it stayed silent after the result transmission system went down during the 2018 polls.

“People consider the ECP responsible for Imran Khan’s crimes when they see inflation, when they lose jobs, when the circular debt reaches Rs3,000 billion,” Maryam said.

“The ECP will have to answer [these questions]. Imran Khan has confessed to his crime and when someone confesses to their crime… they are punished.”

2:30PM: Awami National Party's Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the PDM leaders have decided to change their route. The protesters will use NADRA chowk instead of Serena Chowk, he said. "We will try our best to end the protest by 5pm," he remarked. "We will protest peacefully and won't attack the PTV building unlike Imran Khan and his followers."

1:45PM: JUI-F's Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri has reached the Election Commission. He said that hurdles have been installed in way of rallies making their way to Islamabad. "The decision in the PTI foreign funding case must be given immediately," he demanded.

1:30PM: PPP Senator Sherry Rehman has reached the residence of Maulana Fazlur Rehman along with Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Sajjad Mir, Mir Kaber, Akhtar Mengal, Akram Khan Durrani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Khurram Dastgir, Captain (retd) Safdar, Pervez Rasheed among others.

1PM: PML-N workers and supporters have started gathering at the Allama Iqbal Park in Rawalpindi. Senior leaders Rana Sanaullah and Marriyum Aurangzeb have reached the capital and they will lead different rallies to the ECP.

12:11PM: PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz has left her residence in Murree to travel to Islamabad. She will arrive there using the expressway. Her first stop will be Bhara Kahu where her caravan will be welcomed by PML-N's Raja Waqar.

12:09PM: Only a few workers have reached Rehman's residence. All PDM and senior opposition members will arrive at this house and then leave for the ECP after convening at Kashmir Chowk at 1pm.

9AM: PDM protesters were served halwa puri as breakfast outside the commission. Click here to watch its video.

8AM: Strict security arrangements have been made near the ECP office and Islamabad. Over 1,800 law enforcers have been deployed in different locations in Islamabad, while at least 800 police and Rangers personnel have arrived at the ECP office.

PTI foreign funding case

Akbar S Babar, an estranged member of the PTI, had filed a case against the ruling party on November 14, 2014. He claimed that the party was collecting its funds illegally.

The Supreme Court instructed the ECP to look into the party's funding accounts. So far, the commission has held 70 hearings but no verdict has been given.

The PTI has requested an adjournment in the case 30 times and changed their lawyers eight times.

In March 2018, a scrutiny committee was formed to give its report on the case in one month. The commission held 80 sessions but it failed to submit a report.

What is the Pakistan Democratic Movement?

The PDM, which comprises 11 opposition parties, has been staging anti-government rallies across Pakistan.

The first rally was held in Gujranwala on October 16, the second in Karachi on October 18, and the third in Quetta on October 25. The movement’s fifth rally was held in Peshawar on November 22 and its sixth in Multan on November 30.

The opposition members said there should be accountability for anyone accused of corruption, not just the opposition. At the rallies, the opposition leaders also challenged the country’s powerful establishment, accusing them of bringing the PTI government to power through systematic rigging.

PDM lawmakers have also threatened to resign en masse to force the government to dissolve assemblies.

'Opposition parties could only gather 1,000 to 1,500 people'

Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed said the government gave opposition parties access to the Red Zone but they could only gather 1,000 to 1,500 people.

“There were so many flags at the rally but no workers,” the minister said, calling the protest “Friday bazar” of those seeking to rule the country. He praised the Islamabad administration and Rangers for maintaining law and order in the capital.

The PDM will use its long march as its last card, according to the minister. He asked the opposition alliance to organise the march at the earliest, saying the government would welcome it.

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