After the verdict announcement from Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the Foreign Funding Case against former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the ruling coalition government, under the leadership of premier Shehbaz Sharif, has decided to make full use of this opportunity and ensure the disqualification of former PM in what is being termed as “Operation Clean Sweep” against PTI and its chairman.
According to reports, the coalition government – Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance – has already started laying the ground work and preparations to initiate the barrage of legal proceedings against PTI and Khan with reference to the judgment of ECP in the prohibited funding case.
The coalition government is looking to corner PTI and Khan, demanding the ECP to disqualify the party and its chairman for life from politics as the party has been found guilty of taking prohibited foreign funding and former PM falsely assuring in writing to the ECP that neither he nor his party have received any foreign funding.
This major decision was taken during a meeting of the PDM chaired by PM Sharif at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad. Various political matters were discussed while it was mutually agreed that approval will be taken for putting Imran Khan and other party leaders of PTI names on the country’s Exit Control List (ECL).
It was also decided that no party, including Imran Khan’s PTI will be allowed to protest in Islamabad’s Red Zone as the ruling coalition contemplated on launching a clean sweep operation against PTI’s provincial and central leadership in the coming days.
Further details even revealed that a parallel operation of arresting PTI leadership will be launched in different parts of the neighbouring country for which multiple teams would take part and work simultaneously throughout Pakistan.
These major decisions come at a time when ECP gave its verdict after nine-years in the prohibited funding case against PTI. Announcing the verdict, the Commission stated that former ruling party received prohibited funds from at least 34 foreign nationals and at least 351 companies based outside of Pakistan.
PTI was issued a show cause notice by ECP after it announced its unanimous verdict, headed by Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja. ECP also stated that at least 13 unknown accounts have been found linked to PTI and the submissions by Imran Khan were inaccurate and wrong.
Imran Khan had personally issued certificates to the ECP in regard to Article 13(2) of the Political Party Order (PPO) to the effect that PTI does not receive funds from prohibited sources, implying that his party was not a foreign-aided political party.
ECP also highlighted that PTI violated Article 17(3) of the Constitution and failed to declare three bank accounts operated by the party’s senior leadership and concealment of at least 16 bank accounts by the party was a serious laps.
Now, with the ECP verdict out, the ruling coalition seems to be in no mood to rest its laurels and reportedly is gearing up to use the ECP judgement to not only disqualify PTI as a political party but also target Imran Khan’s political position and have him also disqualified for making false claims on his party’s funding sources.
If the government goes ahead with its plan to launch operation clean sweep against PTI leadership, it may trigger a major uproar and resistance by PTI supporters, who may launch protests against the ruling government.
Meawnhile, with Imran Khan holding ruling position in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab province, and in legislative assemblies of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and Kashmir, any major step against him or his party may trigger PTI to move towards dissolving the provincial and legislative assemblies, forcing the ruling government to go into early elections.
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